Portsmouth boy left distraught he could not go on school trip because of funding rules - even when his parents offered to pay

PARENTS are in dispute with their son’s school after he was not allowed to go on a school trip as he did not meet the required funding criteria.

Tuesday, 10th December 2019, 11:00 am
Updated Friday, 13th December 2019, 8:53 pm

Nine year old Ronnie Callaway-Hinks, who attends St George’s Beneficial Primary School in Portsea, was left ‘inconsolable’ after finding out he could not go on the residential trip with his friends as he was not a Pupil Premium student.

Pupil premium students get additional government funding due to the challenging circumstances they may face.

Ronnie said: ‘I realised I was not going to be going when the letters were given out and I didn’t get one. I was not very happy as my friends were going. I don’t think it’s fair that some got to go on the trip depending on their parents’ jobs.’

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Ronnie Callaway-Hinks, 9, from Portsea, was upset at not being able to attend a residential school trip with his friends. Picture: Sarah Standing (021219-2501)

Mum Jennie Hinks added: ‘I’m disgusted my son has been made to feel so upset and discriminated against. He was upset when he came home from school and said all his friends were going on a school trip but his teacher said he couldn’t go. When I enquired I was told as both me and his dad work full-time he was not entitled to go.’

The trip to PGL Liddington Adventure Centre gave children the opportunity to take part in outdoor activities and team building games. Jennie said she had been left “devastated” as she believed the trip would have really benefited Ronnie, who is challenged by severe dyslexia.

‘He has an Educational Healthcare Plan which can really affect his self-esteem. He would really have benefited from the trip which was designed to improve confidence and social skills,’ said Jennie.

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Jennie even offered to pay for the trip but was told it was not possible.

The school has defended its stance and highlighted that the trip was part of year long programme by the charity, Finding Futures, which specifically targeted Pupil Premium children.

Headteacher Sandra Gibb said: ‘The Finding Futures programme is restricted to Pupil Premium children and so unfortunately Ronnie was not eligible.’

Twenty-one of the 25 places were taken up by Ronnie’s peers in Year 5 with the remaining places offered to eligible children in Year 6.

Sandra added: ‘The course and residential trip is part financed by additional pupil premium funding which is then matched by the charity and therefore places were restricted to Pupil Premium students. The trip is part of a year-long initiative for these specific children.’

Mrs Gibb also wanted to stress that all the children in school are part of a school development action plan to improve confidence, communication, resilience and independence.

‘We also have Commando Joes initiative being introduced after Christmas for the whole school,’ she said.

Mrs Gibb said she had communicated the situation with Mrs Hinks by both newsletter and phone and the school have also provided information about summer camps at the centre.

However Jennie said: ‘The whole idea is that Ronnie wanted to go with his friends.’