It’s not often that our sleepy little coastal part of
It’s even more of a surprise when it’s your eldest child’s Infants / Primary school that is making the headlines.
But towards the end of last week this was indeed the case as the Mirror, the Daily Mail and more reputable newspapers like the Times carried the story about the cancellation of the school sports day at
The Times picks up the story
‘A school has cancelled its sports day because the playing field is too uneven. One parent, Louise Powell, 32, said the move was ludicrous and the world had gone “health and safety mad”, but Rebecca Jackson, the head teacher of
The Daily Mail hitting their usual shrill hyperbole declared that the ‘Sports day was axed by ‘killjoys’ in case children tripped over and hurt themselves’
I didn’t read the Mirror’s account of the tale but I’m sure that from their point of view everything would have been the fault of vacuous Tory toffs – What Ho!
Now what the papers seem to have omitted to inform any of their readers was that there has never previously been a Sports Day at the school and that this field, shared with a neighbouring Special Needs Unit, had only recently been made available to them.
Earlier in the year the County Council had turfed the area to allow general use but the result had been a pretty dismal failure due to the weather at the time. It had come to resemble the Somme in 1916 rather than the playing fields of
From all the information I have the school did all that it reasonably could have done to ensure that the Sports Day could take place. And that they really wanted to offer the pupils the chance to take part in this fun event. But a judgement was made that it simply wasn’t safe enough.
Part of the narrative over education in the recent past has been all about allowing head teachers (along with other public service professionals) to run their own schools and take control. Which is absolutely right. But one has to trust them to take decisions on all issues and accept that occasionally that they may come to a decision that you don’t like.
Obviously I know the Head Teacher, Rebecca Jackson, and if she says it wasn’t safe to have a three legged race on that field I trust her judgement totally.
What struck me were the reports of comments made by a few of the parents slamming the decision. Of course if their progeny had turned their dear little ankles during the egg and spoon race they would have undoubtedly been the first in line to denounce the slipshod and negligent approach to child safety adopted by the school.
The other aspect were the hordes of press photographers scaling the school fences to get pictures of the field in the hope of proving it was about as bumpy as the wicket at Lords. If rowdy teens had been photographed doing the same it probably would have been reported as the end of civilisation as we know it.
But there is one pleasing element in the story. On speaking to Fred’s form tutor this morning it appears that one of the journos had been doing a quick dash on the field to prove just how safe it was when they tripped over a bump in the ground and sprained an ankle.
Obviously the school will have to brace itself for some sort of legal challenge.