Playground ban head defends action

THE headteacher of an Essex school heavily criticised for banning parents from its playground defended her actions.Enraged parents at Chase Lane Primary School in Dovercourt hit out at Deborah Carter after she told them to drop their children off at the school gate rather than take them on to the playground or - as some adults wanted - to their classrooms.

THE headteacher of an Essex school heavily criticised for banning parents from its playground has spoken to the EADT to defend her actions.

Enraged parents at Chase Lane Primary School in Dovercourt hit out at Deborah Carter after she told them to drop their children off at the school gate rather than take them on to the playground or - as some adults wanted - to their classrooms.

The 420-pupil school saw angry scenes on Monday, when the changes were put in place, which were dealt with by local police, but Mrs Carter insisted the health and safety of the children had to come first.

And she told the EADT it had been the children themselves who had prompted the move after they complained there were too many adults overcrowding the site.


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Parents have for years delivered and collected their children from the school playground and even the classroom.

But after requests for parents to remain on the outer part of the school grounds, Mrs Carter has now ordered them not to go beyond the playground gate unless it is to speak to a member of the office staff to arrange an appointment.

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She said: “It's always been school policy. They're not banned from the school site at all - I just asked them to wait at the playground gate, which is inside the school grounds anyway.

“I've had lots and lots of parents who have come and said how well things have gone. All the parents have abided by it 100%.”

Mrs Carter said the school's parent forum had met earlier in the week to give parents an opportunity to voice their concerns but none turned up to speak out.

She added: “We have spent ages building up a good rapport with the parents. It (the current situation) has damaged it. It's not fair on the staff - they all work very hard.”

Mrs Carter agreed to speak to the EADT after refusing to talk to every other media outlet, to whom written statements were issued.

The playground ban was announced to parents last week in a newsletter which even threatened legal action against any parents who repeatedly breached it.

Mrs Carter said she had asked the School Council, which is made up of students, how to improve the situation.

She said they had come up with the idea of a “Hug and Bye to Parents” area which will be created shortly when a section of the site near the playground fence is concreted over.

Mrs Carter added there were “so many” positive things about the school, including 28 after-school activities, a Sunny Club which held activities during non-term time, and a family centre that offers support and counselling to parents.

A spokeswoman for Essex Police said: “We were called to the school on Monday afternoon to prevent a breach of the peace. No offences were discovered and no arrests were made.”

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