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Working mum slams free iPads for poor kids plans
A working mum has criticised a Brighton school's idea to give iPads to children entitled to free school meals.
Dorothy Stringer School wrote to parents to say it was considering giving select pupils the electronic devices to encourage more families to sign up to the free school meals scheme.
The school said it received £900 a year Government funding for every child who qualifies and claims for free school meals - cash it claimed could be used to invest in pupils' learning.
In the letter to parents, the school said: “Benefits exist for the school and for your child even if they choose not to eat the meal.
“We believe there are many children in the school who are able to claim free school meals, but who are not doing so.
“These students would benefit now and in the future by registering.
"If the school decides to implement the use of personal devices, we will most likely use iPads. In this case, all students who are on free school meals will be given a free iPad.”
But parent Adele Hughes, 38, of Madehurst Close, Whitehawk, said the idea was “unfair on working families”.
She said: “I work, which means my son doesn't get free school meals. This will also mean he won't be entitled to an iPad if the idea goes ahead.
“Although I work, I still can't afford to splash out on things like iPads. It puts me as a parent in a position. Peer pressure is bad enough as it is, and it won't help if half the class are given free iPads and half aren't.
“It seems these days if you work hard and try to pay your way then you don't really get much back in return. It's unfair on working families.”
A spokeswoman from Dorothy Stringer said the school was currently researching the effectiveness of the idea, which was under consideration.
She said: “We wrote to parents reminding them about free school meals and how to claim.
“Should the school decide to bring in this initiative over the coming years, students who are claiming free school meals will receive an iPad for free.
“The reason behind this is that the pupil premium money is allocated by the Government to allow FSM pupils to access the curriculum.
“It would be in keeping with the intention of the Government to provide iPads in is way.
“The deadline for signing up is the end of the month which is why we have prompted parents at this time.
“However there are absolutely no definite plans as there are still many considerations before it can be taken forward.”
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