The bargain retailer took exception to an article published in TES discussing the new GCSE exam-mark system.
In the article written by Stephen Petty, head of humanities at Lord Williams’s School in Thame, Oxford, he compared a Grade 5 which he described as a “Waitrose C” to a Grade 4 which he deemed a “Poundland C.”
Poundland’s PR and Charity manager Andrea Ross took to Twitter to take aim at Mr Petty’s observations.
She wrote: “I hope my assumption that part of the ethos at your school is to use language respectfully and in a way that doesn’t promote stereotypical thinking.
“Let me tell you that I know my 19,000 colleagues at Poundland will find your use of our company name as a pejorative adjective belittling to them and how hard they work”.
She pointed out that Poundland’s demographic of “AB customers” reflects the majority of the UK.
She concluded: “After you have got over your surprise that someone at Poundland reads the TES or can translate your school motto, perhaps we can respectfully ask that you avoid using our name as a judgmental adjective in future, if only so people are less likely to jump to conclusions about you.”
Mr Petty said in his article that the Department of Education let slip that the new GCSE Grade 5 would be a “good pass” whereas the Grade 4 would be considered a “standard” pass.
He wrote: “Even though they then altered the word ‘good’ to ‘strong’ and reassured everyone that 4, too, could be called a pass – a ‘standard’ pass – the underlying message was clear to all: Grade 4 was going to be – in their middle-class world – a flaky Poundland Grade C, while 5 would be the equivalent of a Waitrose C.
“Ofsted confirmed this Waitrosification when it declared that Grade 5 would now be its new line in the sand when assessing school ‘pass’ rates, despite 4 being the fairer comparison with previous results.”
When comparing the Grade 4 and Grade 5 passes, Mr Petty wrote: “they may be numerical next-door neighbours, but in terms of social status, the numbers four and five have been drifting apart from each other for many years.”
Mr Petty’s article appeared in TES a weekly publication aimed at school teachers in Britain.
The Standard has reached out to TES and Poundland for further comment.