Norfolk village school will allow parents to attend sports day if they are “supportive”
A village school in the Fens which considered banning parents from its sports day because of a safety row has decided to allow mums and dads to attend the popular traditional summer event.
It would have been the first time in the history of Upwell Community Primary School that it barred mothers and fathers from its sports day and held the event behind closed doors out of the public eye.
The row between the education centre and parents stemmed from a Norfolk Arts Open day at the school which saw a small group of parents boycott the event because members of the public could also attend.
Headteacher James McBurney claimed this suggested parents were not being supportive of the school, while some mothers and fathers said they took this extreme action because it had not resolved their security concerns.
Mr McBurney and the school's staff then agreed to postpone the annual event and consider the possibility of hosting the sports day without parents being invited.
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Parents told the EDP this was just an excuse to 'punish them' for what happened at the Norfolk Arts Open day and some claimed they felt 'threatened'.
But in a letter sent to parents last week, Mr McBurney said: 'Following a difficult period I feel that it is important to make you aware, as much as possible, about the present situation.
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'We plan to hold a revised sports day on June 29 as proposed with parents invited, if we are confident that we have support of all parents.
'The staff want me to assure you that concerns about monitoring visitors, and your responses to [the] open arts day were not significant in their decision.
'The staff were subjected to a series of verbal abuse and did not want a repeat of the confrontations to take place in front of the children.
'The well-being of staff and children were their prime concerns.'
He added: 'I will continue to monitor procedures in school and any further changes that we make will reflect on issues raised by parents, pupils, staff, governors and other stakeholders in our children's education.'
The dispute also saw a few parents set up a new group, called Parent Concerns, to work with the school to reach some 'amicable solutions'.
The parents claimed that it had tried many avenues of communication with the school and other governing bodies without success since January over concerns for their children's 'safe education and, enjoyment'.
The group now hopes the 'communication gateway' will be re-opened following this dispute.