Wednesbury Oak Academy Scraps Controversial ‘No Pay No Play’ Playground Scheme That Segregated Kids

A school has scrapped a controversial playground scheme after they were accused of segregating children who had not paid a donation.

Wednesbury Oak Academy in Tipton, West Midlands, had previously asked parents for a voluntary donation of £6 per child to purchase new play equipment.

When the scheme was launched on Wednesday 3 January, children who had not paid the £6 were not allowed to play on the new equipment.

Outraged parents created a petition to cancel the scheme, gaining 1,500 signatures and the board of governors then announced the scheme would be ditched.

In a statement to HuffPost UK, the Chair of Governors said: “We have listened to the concerns raised and will be ending the scheme with immediate effect.

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

On the petition, parents wrote: “We the parents at Wednesbury Oak Academy are starting a petition against the school in regards to the ‘no pay no play’ scheme set up during lunch time play.

“The parents that have paid and parents that haven’t are totally against the separation of the children as this can cause upset, bullying and social exclusion amongst other things.”

They wrote that the scheme had been met with “outright disgust” from children, parents, staff and grandparents.

When the news broke, headteacher Maria Bull initially defended the move.

“Schools get an awful lot of bad press for doing things that benefit the children,” she told the Mirror.

“We are asking for just £6 a year. We are talking about a 20-minute area outside with some equipment. We are running this as a lunchtime activity club.”

She said staff also run after-school clubs for £2 a week and breakfast clubs for £3. She added that buying the equipment was not her idea, but had been suggested by the school’s parent council.

The scheme is no longer in force.