The Isambard Community School in Swindon, Wilts., insists all parents must clear a Criminal Records Bureau check to weed out potential paedophiles.Not to send their offspring there, oh, no! Just to watch the school sports day.
Neil Park, 54, was furious when he was turned away from watching his son George, 12, play rugby. The father-of-five said: "I was turned away from the school because I had not been CRB checked.
"I couldn't believe it. Government guidelines state that parents are allowed to watch games. "Yes, but you see, schools care nothing for government guidelines when they mean they might have to work a bit harder.
"George was really upset by it all. What are they going to stop you going to next? Parents' evening? The school play? "Oh, no, Neil! Stop there! Please, stop there! They don’t need any encouragement! They certainly don’t need any ideas!
It appears that this stems from an issue with access to the school grounds. But their statement makes no sense whatsoever:
A spokesman said: "It is with regret that from now on we will be unable to accommodate parents wishing to spectate at our sports fixtures unless they are in possession of an up-to-date Swindon Council CRB check.
"At Isambard we take safeguarding very seriously and because of this we are unable to leave gates open for access to sporting venues at anytime during the school day."So, you are vetting the accessing parents – why not simply make them prove they are parents, and not the local dirty-mac brigade? Wouldn’t that be easier?
And please don’t start wrapping yourselves in the Shroud of Victimhood because of the problems that are of your own making:
"The current access arrangements are frustrating for both Isambard staff and parents and have recently resulted in reception staff and PE staff being on the receiving end of verbal abuse from parents who have become frustrated trying to get into or out of the school."Oh, boo hoo! You’ll notice other schools don’t have this problem with parents.
Why not? Simple. They welcome them viewing their children at sports!
Other schools in the area have no plans to implement this new policy however. Clive Zimmerman, head at Lydiard Park Academy, Swindon, said: "We don't have that policy here because there are always staff supervising the children.
"We think it is important that parents can support their children.
"We had our inaugural hockey game at the Link Centre this week, and half of that stadium was filled with parents which is fantastic."So what sort of school is Isambard Community School? Well, the OFSTED report is glowing, and tells us:
The school has specialist status for the performing and media arts.And, buried in the last few pages of the latest report, perhaps a clue?
A smaller proportion of parents and carers responded to the Ofsted questionnaire than is commonly found. The large majority of parents and carers who did so have positive views on all aspects featuring in the Ofsted questionnaire. However, concerns were expressed by a small minority about a number of aspects. These include how the school helps parents and carers to support their children’s learning, the extent to which children are prepared for the future, the way the school deals with unacceptable behaviour and its leadership and management. Inspection evidence does not endorse these concerns.I wonder if the tiny subset of parents referred to here is equal to the tiny subset of parents objecting to being forced to pay £26 for a pointless CRB check?
After all, even those using taxpayer money are getting fed up with the hassle that goes with paying it!
Clarissa notes that they have since published a further PR missive. Though whether it clarifies matters or further muddies the waters, it’s hard to say.