A meaningful sausage roll

43680011_0_640x640I found a sausage roll wrapper on the kitchen counter today. I knew my daughter had chosen a quick school lunch on a busy day. But why had she taken this sausage roll out of its wrapper and put her lunch in a sandwich bag?

I asked her when she got home from school. She explained that it was a Waitrose sausage roll, she didn’t want her friends to know we shopped at Waitrose.

In grammar schools I wonder if an alternative scenario might play out? Perhaps in these schools everyone will have expensive sausage rolls and the poor children hide Aldi and Lidl wrappers?

I know it’s all rather ridiculous, but the timing feels appropriate. Just yesterday I posted my conference speech about the differences between Kent grammar schools and comprehensives. One incident with a sausage roll wrapper explains the class divide in our schools far  better than any of my words.

Education is about lots of things. I think my son might pass the Kent Test and go to grammar school. But I worry that his education will be lacking.  I worry that he won’t learn that some people buy cheaper food and don’t eat at Pizza Express on a whim. I worry that he’ll think everyone can afford new cars and foreign holidays. I worry that he’ll think everyone is smart, and finds school work easy, and then goes on to University. I worry a grammar school will teach my son a one-sided world view.

My daughter might have failed the Kent Test, but she has learned the difference between Aldi and Waitrose. She has got wise to the fact our family are lucky to have financial advantage. She has learned that people are different, that some people pick things up quickly and some take longer to get there, and that talent is about creativity, and ideas, and sports prowess as well as exams. She has learned many things my son will miss out on if he gets a grammar school education.

I am sure they will both turn out fine, and the things a parent teaches are just as important as anything children learn in school. Which reminds me, I need to teach my daughter to put wrappers in the bin not leave them lying about.




4 thoughts on “A meaningful sausage roll

  1. Hi Jo. Unfortunately although I appreciate your argument I disagree. Waitrose does not represent any particular class or does not require a demonstration of wealth to shop there but it does represent a choice to support local farmers, protect the environment by reducing the carbon footprint whenever possible, supporting local communities, having proper and monitored due diligence with regard to safe and traceable food and an almost unique business model of an organisation that is truly owned by its staff who shares in its profits. A grammar school education, a degree or doctorate is not required to shop there just an appreciation for good honest food sensibly priced.


  2. Hi Stuart, I love Waitrose and we shop there for all those reasons! Unfortunately a secondary school with a high intake of disadvantaged pupils does not see your brand the same way. 🙂

    I mentioned Waitrose here, but in the past similar incidents have cropped up with Gap vs Primark, Pizza Express vs McDonalds. My point is not at all to do with Waitrose in itself, it’s to do with a class divide in Kent schools.

    I wouldn’t have much interest in educating children about Waitrose being a lovely brand (though it is, and your marketing people might care what the kids in my daughter’s school think!) But I would much rather we had an education system in this county that tried to avoid one school full of the Waitrose shopping ‘haves’ and the other school full of the Lidl shopping ‘have nots.’

    I’m sorry that using your company to demonstrate this point bothered you. Keep up the good work, I didn’t know some of those things about the store… We’ll keep shopping at Waitrose, and my daughter likes your sausage rolls the best. 🙂


  3. Hi Jo. I believe that life is all about choice. Where to shop is just one of those choices and you are just as likely to see a new 4×4 in the car park at Lidl as you are a small family car in a Waitrose one. It’s important to retain choice and that goes for grammar schools too. Aspiration is as important in children just as much as it is in adults and therefore I would hate to see the removal of one route that enables a child to realise their potential. Thank you though for your thought provoking ‘blog’ I just wanted to give an alternative view and I hope that you keep enjoying the sausage rolls!! 😀

    Just one of the ways that Waitrose has supported local communities http://www.waitrose.com/content/waitrose/en/home/inspiration/community_matters.html


  4. I love the choice of putting those green tokens in the charity box. I’m not sure the grammar schools in Kent are very much about choice though.

    There is no choice if you’d rather have an education system that is the only legal option in the rest of the country. There is no choice if you want to send your child to Outstanding schools that bar you from entry if you don’t have the right paperwork. There is no choice if you are bright and poor and your mother doesn’t bother to enter you for the Kent Test. There is no choice for the 500 children a year who are judged bright enough to go to grammar school at 16, but have no option to get there before then.

    As for aspiration, there isn’t much of that in Kent’s secondary modern schools, they see few success stories and far too many are failing schools.

    Despite all this I’m not actually in favour of closing our grammar schools. I think they are causing an imbalance in our secondary school system and no one dares fix things because we’re scared to talk about Kent education. A quarter of children who fail their Kent Test get an inadequate school, next to no disadvantaged children go to grammar schools, and Kent’s record for post 16 education (especially for disadvantaged children) is well below the average in the rest of the country.

    But at least we agree on sausage rolls. 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s