Parents split over sports day ban at Gaywood’s Howard Junior School

GV picture of Howard Junior School, Parkway King's Lynn
GV picture of Howard Junior School, Parkway King's Lynn

Angry parents who have been banned from their children’s school sports day have described the decision as “ridiculous”.

It comes after it was revealed in a Lynn News exclusive this morning that Howard Junior School in Gaywood has told parents and carers they are “not invited” to the annual event due to the “aggressive” behaviour of a minority.

A number of those with youngsters at the school have since voiced their criticism of the decision – with some saying they were considering keeping their children at home on Wednesday – which is when the sports day is due to take place.

One parent, Louise Featherby, said: “Everybody’s got their own issues, it’s just a joke at the moment.

“The ban is ridiculous. It’s absolutely ridiculous.

“We are vocal, passionate about our kids. I got banned from the school premises over having issues with the school.”

Dell Mortimer said he felt that headteacher Gregory Hill was more like a “manager”.

“It’s a communication thing, everybody’s concerns are being ignored,” he added.

A letter was sent home on Thursday which said a small minority of parents had “ruined matters for all concerned”.

It claimed some parents had threatened staff in an “intimidating and aggressive manner”.

The letter, written by Mr Hill, insisted staff had the right to feel safe in their workplace, adding: “The school will continue to ban parents who conduct themselves in an inappropriate manner.

“All incidents of intimidation, violence or threatened violence will be reported to the police.

“If parents cannot conduct themselves appropriately, then to ensure the safety of staff, pupils and indeed other parents, we have decided that this year’s sports day will take place with pupils only and unfortunately, parents are now not invited. “This decision has not been taken lightly and is a real shame for the children, but we need to guarantee the safety of our staff and pupils.”

Despite the criticism, several people have taken to social media to say they believe the ban is reasonable.

Gavin Everitt said: “It’s a shame but I’ve seen the conduct of such parents in the past who think it’s acceptable to threaten and shout at teachers and staff which leads to the same attitudes from their children. It’s OK saying ‘just ban the problem parents’ but where does that end?”

Sally Beadle said: “So sad for the children. I don’t expect this choice was made without full consideration.

“Perhaps parents can respond by showing support for the school’s efforts to keep children safe rather than anger. Hope sports day goes well.”

Hannah Palfrey said: “Completely understand having the parents who have a history of aggression banned but not all of the innocent parties too.”

Police in Lynn have confirmed that officers were called to two incidents at the school – a ‘low level’ one in June which has since been resolved and another this week which is being investigated.

The school had not responded to request for comment at the time of going to press.