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Education Secretary Brands Two Thirds Of Children Not Normal

Thursday, April 13, 2017


Families in low paid work, armed forces families and foster children will be surprised to learn they are not ordinary, says union.

The Education Secretary has branded 68 per cent [1] of England’s children not normal in a speech to promote grammar schools.

Children who are eligible for the pupil premium and free schools meals, including children from armed forces families and families with foster children, are all not ordinary according to the Secretary of State.

The Department for Education has published a consultation saying Grammar schools should work for ‘ordinary’ families – around a third of the population according to their own definition. [2]

At a time when schools up and down the country are crippled financially, the Government has set aside £1 billion for Theresa May’s grammar schools vanity project. [3]

Karen Leonard, GMB National Officer, said:

“I'm sure a number of families will be surprised to learn they're not 'ordinary' today.

“If you're in low paid work, your kids get free school meals, you're in the armed forces or if you're a foster family, the Government today don't class your family as normal.

“It shows how completely out of touch they are - insecure work, caring responsibilities, bogus self-employment, a so called living wage no one can live on - that's 'ordinary' life for millions of people across the country.

“I don't know what question the Secretary of State is asking to which this arbitrary definition is the answer - but it's clearly not the right one.

“Well funded, locally accountable schools with healthy and happy kids - that's what we need.

“Not increasingly divisive policies that pit people against each other.”


Contact: GMB press office on 07958 156846 or at

Notes to editors:

[1] Figures from DfE supporting data (Table 5) where all other pupils below median income equals children from 'Ordinary Working Families' 

  • Group of children
  • Number
  • Per cent of total
  • FSM
  • 91,400
  • 16%
  • Pupil Premium
  • 100,900
  • 18%
  • All other pupils below median income
  • 186,400
  • 32%
  • Al other pupils above median income
  • 195,600
  • 34%

[2] "There is no official definition of an ordinary working family. However, the Government frequently refers to a group who are not entitled to pupil premium but earning modest incomes as ordinary working families. This document has set out an approach to looking at this group through better understanding of those families who are below median household equivalised income but who are not eligible for pupil premium. This approach shows there are around a third of children in these families." Page 50 of the DfE Ordinary Working Families consultation document:

[3] Wednesday, March 8, 2017


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