School’s parent veto policy is a ‘stupid system’

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A father claims a village school is “riding roughshod” over the community by refusing to allow parents into its playground.

Acton Primary School has introduced a drop-off at the gate policy which prevents parents entering the playground in the morning.

Instead, they must drop children at the school gate before immediately driving off.

Billy Smart, whose daughter Matilda, eight, attends the school in Lambert Drive, said: “The school has put a system in place where parents cannot go into the playground with their children.

“We are not even allowed out of our cars.”

Mr Smart, from Melford Road, said he had met headteacher Julie O’Neill to discuss his grievances, and had been told the policy was used to combat parking complaints.

“I have spoken to other parents and they think it is a stupid system,” said the 44-year-old, whose three-year-old son Fraser is due to start nursery at the school.

“We are talking about children aged five and six going into school on their own. This is a small community and people make friends in the playground and talk to other parents. It is the hub of the community and it is being taken away.”

Mr Smart said parents had received a letter about the policy and, following a short trial, the school had chosen to adopt it permanently.

“They say they have overwhelming support for it, but I don’t see it,” he said.

“They are riding roughshod over the community and I don’t agree with it.

“I understand older years don’t want their parents with them, but this is a primary school and I think our children want us there.”

Miss O’Neill said the system had been brought in on Monday to help stop school traffic causing problems for residents, and parents were allowed in the playground when collecting youngsters in the afternoon.

“The school has had a large number of complaints about double parking, parking on yellow lines and the pavement,” she said.

“Local residents were unable to get out of their drives because of cars parked across them, there were arguments between parents over parking and concerns from motorists over children crossing the road between double-parked cars.”

Miss O’Neill said the school had trailled a one-way system with morning drop-off at the gate for a week in May, and then asked for feedback from parents and residents.

“This proved overwhelmingly positive and, in addition, we received the support of our Pcso and from the school’s road safety officer,” she said.

She added there was also an improvement in pupils’ punctuality.