Barry Gardiner

Working Hard for Brent North

Michaela Community School

I have recently received a number of emails, calls and letters regarding the letter sent by the head teacher of Michaela Community School to the parents of children whose school dinner payments were overdue. Although the school itself is not within my constituency, a number of my constituents do attend the school.

I was shocked  by the contents of the letter. In my view it can never be right for a school to stigmatise children under its care. Any disputes with parents should be handled in a way that does not risk damage to the children.

Sadly, this is the kind of situation that arises when a Conservative government creates ‘Free Schools’ which operate outside of local democratic control and that are only accountable to the Secretary of State for Education.

It is up to the Secretary of State now to decide whether she considers this behaviour acceptable. I do not. If she agrees she must use her powers to intervene.

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