Parents complain after primary school offers extra play time for money

Newton Primary School

Newton Primary School - Credit: Google

Parents in Rainham have complained after a primary school asked its pupils to pay for extra play-time. 

A leaflet was sent to parents at Newton Primary School in Lewen Road last week which announced “Two's Day” on Tuesday, February 22. 

To mark the date 22.02.2022, children were asked to bring in two one-pound coins in exchange for a non-uniform day and an extra 22 minutes of playtime during the week. 

The leaflets stated: “No £2, no 22 minutes of fun."

Hayley McClenaghan, executive headteacher at the school, said it had introduced more fundraising events at the request of parents and said taking part was not compulsory. 

One parent, who did not wish to be named, said the move would hit "the less fortunate” and said it fit into a pattern of increasingly “ridiculous” fundraising at the school. 

The parent, who has four children at the school, said fundraisers had cost them £40 in December alone. 

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“These events are coming in seven times a month, they are becoming dearer and dearer," he said. 

“For a mum on benefits in the middle of winter, [my partner] has two choices, she puts the kids in and pays the money or she feeds and warms the flat. 

“The cost of living is just going up and up and up and the school just seem to want us to fund their shortfalls.” 

The couple did not send their children to school on Tuesday and said they were aware of at least one other family who had done the same. 

The school has invited them in for a meeting, but the man said: “As far as we are concerned, it feels like we have got to go in and beg them." 

The flyer advertising "Two's Day"

The flyer advertising "Two's Day" - Credit: Supplied

Ms McClenaghan said: “They asked us to provide more fun extra-curricular events for their children and these are held periodically as we’re careful not to overburden them.

“Any parent who has financial difficulties can ask for support, if they wish, and we can cover their costs. We have asked them to come and speak to us. 

“This week’s event was a non-uniform day and we asked parents to contribute £2 per child, which raised £500 for the school fund.”