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Parents concerned for child safety after school shuts gate for security

PUBLISHED: 10:28 10 October 2018 | UPDATED: 08:20 11 October 2018

The sign on the Attleborough Primary School gate at the rear of the school allowing access to Norwich Road, which has been closed. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The sign on the Attleborough Primary School gate at the rear of the school allowing access to Norwich Road, which has been closed. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Copyright: Archant 2018

Parents say they are concerned about children’s safety after a school blocked an entrance for security reasons.

The Attleborough Primary School gate at the rear of the school allowing access to Norwich Road, which has been closed. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYThe Attleborough Primary School gate at the rear of the school allowing access to Norwich Road, which has been closed. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Attleborough Primary School, on Besthorpe Road, issued a statement on October 3.

It said: “Good Morning. With immediate effect the Norwich Road entrance gate will be no longer available for access to our site, this is in conjunction with our new security program. We apologise if this causes any inconvenience but site security has to take priority. Entrance to and from our school will only be via the gates on Besthorpe Road.”

Parents reacted angrily to the Facebook post, with some saying the new rules would make picking up time unsafe. A paper petition has also been started to reverse the decision.

This is partly due to the extensive road works on Besthorpe Road and nearby Surrogate Street, which have disrupted Attleborough town centre for weeks. The works have meant the roads are particularly crowded, and pedestrian access is constricted. Parents have reported pupils returning from Attleborough High School walking freely in the road at rush hour, prompting safety concerns.

The Attleborough Primary School main entrance on Besthorpe Road. Parents are unhappy that the rear access gate to the school on Norwich Road has been closed. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYThe Attleborough Primary School main entrance on Besthorpe Road. Parents are unhappy that the rear access gate to the school on Norwich Road has been closed. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

However Mrs Gayle Long, headteacher, said: “This decision has been made in the interests of our pupils to help keep them safe. I did not take this decision lightly but am concerned that the entrance gives our youngest pupils direct access to a very busy road. At peak times of the day very young children have also become separated from their parents at the entrance because it is narrow and easily congested.

“Parents are still able to use the main entrance on Besthorpe Road which is a short walk away from the Norwich Road gate.”

Catlee Hussey, 36, a full-time mum, said: “We’re all really baffled as to what the reason is, but for me it’s a safety issue. With the road works going on at the junction you’re asking all that footfall to go past. The path isn’t very wide and the high school kids are going in the gate to meet parents or pick up siblings. They walk in the road because there are so many people.

“I think they have gone about this completely the wrong way. They should have sent a letter out and given us notice so we could have asked for a meeting. There’s been no consultation. There are some mums that are unhappy about the closure. They want something done about it and they want to know why.”

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