‘Unintentional poverty discrimination’ – does it exist?

Good point, and also I think this highlights the reasons why the ‘universal free school meals’ plan recently put in place by the government won’t really help the children who need the meals. The idea, I suppose, is that if all children get free school meals then there’s no distinguishing between those who need them to be free, and those whose parents could afford to pay for them. But as you point out, there are myriad ways that children are singled out at school for being poor, so wouldn’t the money the government’s spending on the free meals for the kids who don’t need it be better spent providing free school trips or free school uniforms for those that are in need?


When I was 7 my dad was unemployed for a while. My parents cushioned us from the blow to the extent that they were able but still a few events from that time are forged in my memory. They are all connected with school. The somewhat blatant question asked of me by my teacher in front of the class: ‘WHEN is your father going to actually get a job, Fiona?’ holds a special place as it succeeded in making me feel I’d done something wrong. Having to wait for lunch in a separate queue to those who paid for their meals and then not being allowed to sit with my friends, resulted in my feeling tainted in some way. Whilst going to the Co-op with my mum to meet a man with a clipboard from the council who signed off the purchase of my winter coat, was just downright scary…

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