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Maidstone school's apology after 'income support picnic' offer

A head teacher has apologised to parents after an “income support picnic lunch” option appeared on a letter asking them to choose their children’s lunch to celebrate the Royal Wedding.

Archbishop Courtenay Primary School in Maidstone wrote to parents this week to tick one of four options which included “own picnic lunch”, “paid school picnic lunch”, “income support picnic lunch” and “reception/KS1 picnic lunch”.

Some parents described the decision to categorise the types of lunch as a form of “discrimination” but Wendy Robinson, head teacher of the Eccleston Road school, informed parents during her apology that it was a way of setting out the budget to cater for the meals.

The Archbishop Courtenay Primary School in Maidstone (2021000)
The Archbishop Courtenay Primary School in Maidstone (2021000)

She said: “I would like to apologise for the use of the term ‘Income Support Picnic Lunch’ in the list of options.

“I would like to assure you that I did not mean to cause any upset and I certainly wouldn’t want anyone to feel as though they are being treated differently because of their circumstances.

“Please be assured that this term is usually only used to ensure clarity in the office about budget allocations for school meals, and not for any other purpose.

“This was simply an oversight on my part for which I am truly sorry.”

The school has arranged for a picnic lunch to help celebrate the marriage of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on Friday, ahead of the wedding Saturday.

Each of the lunches would have been the same and the contents of an "income support picnic" would have been identical to any other.

Miss Robinson added: “I would also like to reassure you that all of our children receive exactly the same meal, no matter how it is being funded.

“I actually pride myself in the fact that we are a school where children are all treated the same and are not singled out for any reason.

“The reason I choose to be the Headteacher of Archbishop Courtenay Primary School is because I want to work in a school where everyone is treated the same, no matter what.”

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