Not on ben­e­fits? You can’t join school clubs

Daily Express - - NEWS - By Al­lis­ter Hag­ger

A MOTHER says her six-year-old son can­not join af­ter-school clubs be­cause she and her part­ner do not claim job­less ben­e­fits.

Cara McCormick, 25, had tried to sign up Thomas for read­ing, maths, com­puter and home­work groups.

But she says he was not al­lowed to take part be­cause she and his step­fa­ther Steve, 35, do not re­ceive state hand­outs.

Steve said: “Last year he went to foot­ball club and other clubs.

“This year we put him down for four sep­a­rate clubs but my part­ner was told that be­cause we were not on ben­e­fits he could not go to any of them.

“He is a bright lad and we just want him to get the best op­por­tu­ni­ties. It is bizarre. You want to give your kids as much of a boost as pos­si­ble.”

Cara said she was en­cour­aged to sign up Thomas for the ses­sions at Oliver Tomkins Pri­mary School in Swin­don. But she said that she then re­ceived a call telling her that he was not el­i­gi­ble.

She said: “I was aback. quite

Dis­crim­i­na­tion

taken

“It is strange. If you want the best for your chil­dren and they are of­fer­ing these clubs what is the dif­fer­ence? It should be for all chil­dren, surely.

“I thought those chil­dren would need it more be­cause the par­ents tend to work long hours and don’t al­ways have the time to sit down with their chil­dren. I feel there is dis­crim­i­na­tion.” She said her friend’s grand­child had been told the same thing. Cara said it was un­fair on work­ing peo­ple who strug­gle to en­sure their chil­dren get a good ed­u­ca­tion.

The cou­ple re­ceive child ben­e­fit and work­ing tax credit, which helps work­ers on a low in­come.

Head­teacher Rhian Cock­well said she had writ­ten to Thomas’s mother to ex­plain why he could not join cer­tain clubs.

She said some of the clubs he ap­plied for were for those who qual­i­fied for “pupil pre­mium”. This is a sum al­lo­cated by Govern­ment to help dis­ad­vanted chil­dren.

The head­teacher added: “These clubs were al­ready full af­ter we had given pri­or­ity to pupil pre­mium stu­dents, oth­er­wise Thomas would not nec­es­sar­ily have been re­fused join­ing them.”

How­ever, she said he was free to join one of 10 other clubs.

Pic­ture: SWNS

Cara McCormick with her son Thomas, six, who was de­nied the chance to join his school’s clubs

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