School bows to pressure and ends playground segregation over sports equipment in ‘rich and poor zones’

Andy Wells
Freelance Writer
Wednesbury Oak Academy has scrapped a scheme that allowed pupils to play with sports equipment if their parents had paid for it (Google)

A school that was accused of segregating children based on whether their parents paid for sports equipment has ended the scheme after a furious backlash.

Wednesbury Oak Academy in Tipton were accused of creating ‘rich and poor zones’ that separated pupils whose parents donated £6 for the equipment from those that didn’t.

Children without a donation were left unable to play with the sports equipment, sparking uproar from parents.

However, the school has decided to stop the scheme “with immediate effect”.

Wednesbury Oak Academy Chair of Governors said: “We have listened to the concerns raised and will be ending the scheme with immediate effect.

Pupils whose parents had donated were allowed to use footballs and tennis balls at lunchtime (Rex/stock photo)

“We are a school that believes in putting our children at the heart of everything we do.”

The ‘no pay, no play’ scheme was launched last week, and asked parents to make a £6 donation per child to use equipment including a football, skipping ropes and tennis balls on lunch breaks.

However, furious parents claimed they and their children were the victims of “social and financial discrimination”.

Headteacher Maria Bull said she had received death threats after the drive was put into place.

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She told the Daily Mirror: “Parents have behaved in a highly threatening manner on Facebook, telling me ‘I need a good slapping’. This is not the way to behave.

“We have systems in place where parents can come and address their concerns. I am on the verge of calling the police.”

Defending the scheme, she insisted parents had eight months to pay but added: “I would prefer children made up their own games in the playground.”

Over 600 people signed a petition to scrap the scheme before it was pulled.