Fairness and equality are pivotal, especially in the youngest generation as pupils develop and progress throughout their time at primary school. It is important that they are given a fair chance to succeed, without being discriminated against or being disadvantaged in any way. Children coming from poorer families are less likely to meet basic pre-requisites for learning and are often poorly prepared for learning. Trends have proven these children often have low attendance.
A lack of inclusivity in the school environment can result in bullying, poor behaviour, and a lack of participation. Ultimately, children can be put at a disadvantage, not just at school, but looking into the future of the rest of their lives. Within the classroom environment, socio-economic factors have the potential to affect student performance in a number of ways: they can develop feelings of inadequacy, be the victim of bullying, or get excluded from social groups. As a result, it is a school’s duty to ensure each pupil has an equal chance of succeeding as soon as they enter the school gates.
In the vast majority of British schools, each child is expected to wear exactly the same school uniform, leveling out the playing field. There are no expectations on what to wear, and children develop a sense of equality, as individuals from all socio-economic backgrounds are given the same clothing to wear. Although this is considered normal in the UK, it simply isn’t the case across the world! We should be proud of this standard, as it undoubtedly brings a sense of cohesion and community.
Further to this point, some schools now ensure that a certain, usually plain bag is worn to school – for similar reasons as the rest of the school uniform. This can be added to other rules regarding dress code, such as no jewelry, make-up, or accessories, creating less difference across the playground.
Schools should also de-stigmatise free school meals, meaning that students are not bullied, isolated or singled out for their situation. Some payment providers fail to hide this, so ensure your provider is capable and make the change. Schools must also be tolerant of all different situations, so if you are going cashless, it’s important to make sure there’s a solution in place such as PayPoint where parents can still top-up with cash.
Our very own Rhea Jarvis is hosting a webinar on the importance of inclusivity, come and join for free! Click here to sign up.