Edinburgh Tesco accused of state school pupil discrimination

A Tesco Metro store in Edinburgh has denied claims it discriminates against pupils at a local state school by making them queue outside while allowing private school students to enter freely.

The Tesco Metro in the Bruntsfield area. Picture: Google Maps

A parent of one child at Boroughmuir High School alleged that the supermarket, located on Colinton Road at Holy Corner in Bruntsfield, made his son and friends queue outside the store while pupils from the nearby George Watson’s College were allowed to come and go without intervention.

Neil Pollock, a lecturer at Edinburgh University, told the Guardian that his son had been made to queue up each day outside the store, adding: “He’s not one to complain but it was getting him down - so we decided to do something.

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“He and his friends are frustrated because they have to wait outside while others go ahead of them. Tesco also ‘police’ the door in that they have a person there making sure they queue.”

Mr Pollock claims that his son was once sent out of the shop when he attempted to enter after a group of Watson’s pupils, but the private school students were allowed in to the store.

Mr Pollock added: “Everybody should queue or nobody should queue.”

He described the practice as a ‘form of discrimination’.

In a series of tweets, Mr Pollock was told by a Tesco representative: “I’ve spoken to the duty manager... He said the private school normally have a lesser amount of children which is quicker and easier for the store.”

Pupils at Boroughmuir High School claim they have been forced to queue outside the store. Picture: Jon Savage

Three former students at Boroughmuir told the Guardian that they had experienced a similar queuing system for state school pupils at the same branch of Tesco, while Watson’s students were not subject to the same restrictions.

But despite the Tesco representative responding to Mr Pollock’s tweets and agreeing that the store ‘can not have different rules’, a Tesco spokesperson told the Guardian: “This is completely untrue – there has never been any discrimination between state and private school children at this store.”

George Watson's College. Picture: Rob McDougall
Pupils at Boroughmuir High School claim they have been forced to queue outside the store. Picture: Jon Savage
George Watson's College. Picture: Rob McDougall