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Parents' help needed to prevent school rampage repeat
IT IS up to parents to stop a repeat of the ugly scenes when up to 150 children went on the rampage at a city school.
That is the message from the city's education chief after pupils at the Oasis Academy Mayfield caused hundreds of pounds worth of damage, smashing windows and wrecking televisions.
The damage happened after a protest by students about how the school was formed by merging Grove and Woolston Schools got out of hand.
Southampton’s Cabinet member for education Peter Baillie said parents who knew their children were planning to protest should tip off teachers to avoid more trouble at the academy, formed from a merger of Grove Park and Woolston schools.
Meanwhile, principal Ruth Johnson, who was unavailable to answer questions directly yesterday, issued a statement saying disruptive pupils had been punished.
She added that the support of parents was needed to end the problems that have blighted the school since it was founded in September.
As revealed in yesterday’s Daily Echo, witnesses told how windows were broken, televisions wrecked and ceiling tiles torn down when pupils on the upper school site in Woolston left on a trail of destruction.
It is understood a number of pupils were immediately excluded from the school.
As previously reported, angry pupils have been protesting against the changes which resulted in two schools merging across two sites, with Years 7, 8 and 9 being taught at Grove Park and Years 10 and 11 at the Woolston site. Yesterday both parents and pupils spoke out, blaming the disruption on the unwanted merging of the schools and the lack of help from staff at the school.
As previously reported, angry pupils have been protesting against the changes which resulted in two schools merging across two sites, with Years 7, 8 and 9 being taught at Grove Park and Years 10 and 11 at the Woolston site.
Yesterday both parents and pupils spoke out, blaming the disruption on the unwanted merging of the schools and the lack of help from staff at the school.
Parent Martine Staples, from Weston, said she was so disappointed with the new school that she had taken her Year 8 daughter Stacey out and enrolled the 12-year-old at nearby Chamberlayne Park.
“I took action because she was getting bullied. I spoke to teachers but they just didn’t seem interested. “She had her best year academically at Woolston last year, but now she is just begging to leave and some of her friends have already made the move.”
Cllr Baillie said: “I would hope parents who may know their children are planning to disrupt learning for other pupils would contact the school and work with the teachers and staff.
“There is a small minority of ringleaders causing trouble and they have some hangers-on that should really not get involved.
The school has taken steps against some of these pupils and I believe the problems will stop very soon.
Mrs Johnson added: “The actions I took last week give out a strong message that we will not tolerate any disruption which could harm the education of the majority of students.”
Teaching unions have threatened to take industrial action if improvements are not made.
Previous trouble at the academy this term includes an allegation that a pupil threatened a teacher with a knife in a classroom last week. Police investigated the incident and said the pupil was reprimanded.
- See today's Daily Echo for the full story