THE parents of a six year old little boy say have claimed he was banned from joining after school clubs for maths and reading – because they are not on BENEFITS.
Mum Cara McCormick, 25, tried to sign up her son Thomas for reading, maths, computer and homework clubs at the Oliver Tomkins school in Swindon, Wilts.
But she says he wasn’t allowed to take part because she and his stepfather Steve, 35, don’t claim benefits.
“Last year he went to football club and other clubs,” said Steve.
“This year we put him down for four separate clubs but my partner got 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.”
Despite being encouraged by the school to sign Thomas up for the sessions, Cara received a phone call on Wednesday telling her that he wasn’t eligible.
“I was quite taken aback,” she said. ”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.”
The couple say that they only claim child benefit and working tax credit. Former police officer Steve is currently retraining as a gas engineer, and says he wants Thomas to have the opportunities that he did not have.
“I left school with nothing,” Steve said.
“But life has to be about opportunity and Thomas should have an opportunity.
“How can you penalise working families and their children?”
The headteacher of Thomas’s school said that the clubs Thomas applied to were full as a result of the school adhering to government guidlines.
She told MailOnline: “We run two or three clubs each week specifically for students on pupil premium – the same students who meet the criteria for free school meals.
“We get allocated a budget from the Government each year which we have to allocate to pupil premium. Unfortunately what happened was that Thomas must have seen a couple of clubs on the list that he liked the look of, and not realised they were pupil premium clubs.
“These clubs were already full after we had given priority to pupil premium students, otherwise Thomas would not necessarily have been refused joining them.”
Ms. Cockwell also added that Thomas is free to join any of the ten clubs run after school which are open to all pupils, and said she has written to parents Cara and Steve to explain the school’s actions.