Anger at school's snub to Queen

EXCLUSIVEBy Roddy AshworthA HEADTEACHER who has banned schoolchildren from leaving lessons to celebrate a visit by the Queen is to take time off to attend the royal reception.


By Roddy Ashworth

A HEADTEACHER who has banned schoolchildren from leaving lessons to celebrate a visit by the Queen is to take time off to attend the royal reception.

Jacky Froggatt, headteacher of the Harwich School, was also criticised last night by one of her governors, who described the tone of a letter sent to parents telling them of the ban as “outrageous”.

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Miss Froggatt sent a letter to parents last week following a decision by the school's governing body it should be lessons as normal tomorrow, despite the first visit of the Queen to Harwich in 46 years.

However, hundreds of children from other schools are due to line the streets not only in Harwich, but also in the other areas of Essex where the Queen is due to visit.

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Miss Froggatt wrote in the letter: “While recognising that this visit is something special for the town, I am concerned that all parents and students should be aware that the school will be running a normal teaching day.

“This means the school will not close at any time and students will not be released from lessons in order to line the streets.”

She added students from Year 11 would be sitting mock exams and all pupils should be given the opportunity to perform at their best “without disruption”.

Her letter continued: “I would ask all parents to ensure their children attend school as normal on November 25 and look forward to a day of hard work from all.”

But it was confirmed yesterday that Miss Froggatt would take time off her own schedule to attend a royal reception at the 1912 Centre in Harwich, where the Queen will view the town's Millennium embroideries before meeting about 50 community leaders.

Harwich School governor Les Double, also a town, district and county councillor, said he thought pupils should be allowed to take time off to see the Queen.

“My view is that it would make more sense for it to be a non-pupil day. The last time the Queen visited Harwich was 46 years ago in 1958. This is not something that happens every day,” he added.

“As for Miss Froggatt herself visiting the 1912, frankly I have my own views on that, but I'm not prepared to say what they are. But I have to say I am disappointed by the tone of that letter. I think it's outrageous.”

Miss Froggatt's personal assistant said yesterday inquiries concerning the matter were being referred to the school's chairman of governors, Steve Fender.

He said the decision not to allow children to leave lessons had been made by the governing body “in mutual agreement” with Miss Froggatt.

“The reasoning behind it was that in the high-pressure environment we find ourselves in these days, we felt we had to maintain business as usual,” explained Mr Fender.

“Given that there was no official role for the Harwich School, we felt this was the most responsible thing to do. If the Queen was to visit the Harwich School, it would be a different story.”

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