At school, your pencil case was your pride and joy – if your parents allowed you to get a new one now and then, anyway.
If they didn’t, however, not so much.
Which is why one school has taken steps to ban pencil cases from its classrooms altogether.
The move is part of a wider project that it, along with more than 100 other schools, has joined that’s focused on preventing poorer students from being singled out.
Head teacher Pauline Johnstone said that banning pencil cases, for example, ensured that there’s “no comparison on the tables and children are learning”.
The Poverty Proofing the School Day project is led by Children North East, and since working with the charity, St Wilfrid’s has also begun giving out stationery to the children and limiting how many dress-up days it runs.
It also has a standard backpack as uniform, and has introduced more tactful ways to distribute its free school uniforms.
The project encourages teachers to keep an eye out for easily-overlooked ways less well off students might get excluded.
Apparently, it’s worked – the school reports that the scheme has led to improved results and higher attendance.
And now, Children North East is helping other schools across the country do the same.
So far, so good – or do you think it could be stifling students’ freedom of self expression?
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