Brit school branded 'sexist' for charging rowing fee from girls
British parents have slammed a school trust's "sexist" decision to charge girls up to 100 pounds-a-term for rowing lessons that boys at another of its establishments gets free.
In the year that Britain's women rowers won their first gold medals at 2012 Olympics, the prestigious Harpur Trust has written to parents of pupils at 11,000 pound-a-year Bedford Girls' School, telling them of the new subscription charge, the Daily Express reported.
Managers have claimed that they cannot afford to increase the rowing budget.
Two of the other Harpur Trust secondary schools, Bedford Modern and Bedford School, do not charge any fee for rowing.
A fee is being considered for Bedford Modern, which is a mixed sex school, but not for the all-boys Bedford School.
One mother, who wished to remain anonymous, said that there was clear inequality within the Trust.
"The other two secondary schools have better facilities, more coaches and better boats. They are not being asked to pay at the moment. This shows a gender inequality," she said.
Some parents fear their refusal to pay the fee will have their daughters banned from rowing, while others are concerned that if they agree to pay it, the school will cut its sports budget.
The charges range from 50 to 100 pounds-a-term, depending on age, but will remain free for Year 8 pupils.
A Harpur Trust spokeswoman strongly denied the claims that they were sexist.
"To enable us to provide participation for all we have introduced a modest fee to our elite rowers to fund a programme of development and training for girls who have the potential to excel at national and international level," she said.