School red-faced over text blunder

George Pindar School has been accused of deceiving parents after staff sent a text message incorrectly claiming shops would stop serving pupils '¨before school.

Thursday, 25th February 2016, 9:12 am
Updated Thursday, 25th February 2016, 9:15 am
Walking to school.George Pindar School . pupils not allowed out during school time.pic Richard Ponter 160815a

Mums and dads were sent a text on Tuesday stating Eastfield’s shops “will no longer serve students” after 8.30am in a bid to tackle latecomers.

However red-faced Pindar bosses retracted the claim just hours later after shop owners claimed they hadn’t agreed to the school’s demands.

Staff at Eastfield’s shops, which include Cooplands and Proudfoots, have vowed to keep serving children – whatever the time.

And one angry Pindar parent said: “To claim the shops supported these plans when they haven’t is shocking –they’ve lied to us.”

Headteacher John Senior has admitted to The Scarborough News that his school never had the backing of the town’s shops before sending the text, while High Street traders say they never supported the plans.

“The youngsters are entitled to buy something from us as is anybody else, regardless of what time it is,” said a Cooplands bakery worker.

“For me it is discriminating against the children.

Eastfield town . pic Richard Ponter 160805a

“They can’t dictate what the children do in their own time, and who businesses sell to – it is embarrassing.

“If the staff want to come down and stop them from coming that is up to them, but we are not going to do their work for them and I won’t stop serving them.”

A neighbouring trader, Nathan Smith, added: “The shops around here won’t stop serving the children, they make money out of it so why should they?

“I knew nothing about these plans until this text came out –they can’t dictate to us like that.”

Eastfield town .Parents enraged by Pindar school decision for pupils. Laura Dunn,Iain Patel,Dawn Leybourn,Mandy Marshall,Jodie Smith., pic Richard Ponter 160805c

After the U-turn, the school says staff will instead patrol the precinct before class to

“reinforce” the good punctuality message.

The school says that tardiness at the Moor Lane site isn’t a major problem, a claim backed up by Ofsted last year.

The watchdog said punctuality was “generally good” in an otherwise critical inspector’s report.

Mr Senior said the text, which was sent to all parents, was aimed at addressing just a “handful” of pupils.

However, locals say the shops are often bustling in the morning with pupils picking up breakfast sandwiches, fizzy drinks and snacks.

Former pupil Lily Bailey left the school last year, and feels that no matter what measures the school takes it won’t keep youngsters away from the shops. “Since I started school pupils have been going to the shops before class and I can never see that changing,” said the teenager.

And furious mum Jodie Smith feels that the school is out of line by trying to dictate to pupils outside of the school gates.

“They are trying to rule their lives outside of the classroom,” she claimed.

“The children don’t have to be at school at 8.30am so why are they trying to control them at 8.30am?

Eastfield town . pic Richard Ponter 160805a

“That is their own personal time and if they want to be at the shops then that’s their decision.” She said her 11-year-old has a good timekeeping record, but still enjoys a trip to the shops before school.

“My son gets dropped off and goes to Cooplands for a breakfast sandwich like I did when I was a pupil there, but he still gets to school on time.

“But it feels like they are trying to control everyone by doing this when even they admit it is just a few pupils.

“They should be focusing on those rather than tarring everyone with the same brush, and they shouldn’t be telling us that the shops support this when they don’t.”

This isn’t the first time the school has been involved in controversy.

Last year it made national headlines after The Scarborough News revealed scores of detentions were being dished out for what parents claimed were bizarre reasons.

Angry parents stormed the school for a snap showdown meeting with Mr Senior over claims children were being kept back for reasons such as coughing and moving their chairs loudly.

Explaining the current drama, the experienced head said that the school is simply focused on maintaining high standards of punctuality.

“Punctuality is good at the moment, but like any employer wants their staff to come to work on time, we want our pupils to come to school on time,” said Mr Senior.

And regarding the text messages, he added: “Our impression was that we had the support of the shops.

“We believed we had an agreement with them and we had a conversation which supported this.”

However he refused to state which firm that was with.

l What do you think? Email [email protected]

Eastfield town .Parents enraged by Pindar school decision for pupils. Laura Dunn,Iain Patel,Dawn Leybourn,Mandy Marshall,Jodie Smith., pic Richard Ponter 160805c