Parents unhappy with decision to close gate between two Northamptonshire schools

The academy is in Ruskin Avenue, Wellingborough
The academy is in Ruskin Avenue, Wellingborough

Parents have said they are unhappy with a decision to close a gate which they regularly used between an infants and junior school.

Katey Pearce contacted the Northants Telegraph following the closure of an internal gate between Wellingborough’s Ruskin Academy and the infants school.

She said its closure means they are now forced to wait with their children by a busy road and she fears it is only a matter of time before a child is run over.

Mrs Pearce said: “I have spoken to a few parents and they are really unhappy.”

She said they have contacted the school about the decision, but felt ‘devalued’ after being told the gate will remain shut.

Mrs Pearce, who has two children at the infants school and one at the junior school, said the gate made it easy as well as safe to get from one school to the other in a short space of time.

She said: “It is just unsafe, it is a disaster waiting to happen.”

And she added: “I don’t understand why the gate is locked.

“At the essential times before school and after school, I think it would be in their interest to have it open.”

The school newsletter for March states: “As from Monday, March 21, the internal gate between infants and juniors will be permanently locked.

“Children should wait at the main gates, which will be opened at 8.45am.

“Staff will be there to man the gates, so there will be no need for parents to come on site in the mornings.

“If parents would like to speak to the class teacher, please come to the main reception to make an appointment.

“In the afternoons, gates will be opened at 3.25pm for parents to come on site to collect their children.

“Again, should you wish to speak to the class teacher, please do not enter the school via the pupil exit doors, come round to the main reception. Thank you.”

And the trust which runs Ruskin Academy has defended the school’s decision.

A statement from Lizzie Rowe, chief operating officer of The Education Fellowship, said: “The Education Fellowship takes all matters of safeguarding and site security seriously.

“Our aim is to provide a safe and secure environment for our pupils, staff and visitors.

“Our security policy which is paramount ensures that we have in place effective procedures to enable us to achieve this aim.

“Our on-site protection for our pupils will be reiterated to parents and carers.

“We support the interim principal of Ruskin Academy in her decision to keep the gate between Ruskin Academy and the infants school locked and not to open other site gates to the academy until school start and finish times from now onwards in order to better protect our pupils.”

The statement said there had been complaints from three parents, but the decision was based on a number of ‘important safeguarding reasons’.

These include some parents leaving children unsupervised on site before the start of the school day, some parents allowing their younger children to use the climbing equipment unsupervised, adults not connected to the academy walking across the site, adults without children at the academy using its drop off zone/car park so parents have to park outside and add to the safety issues and the academy has been hindered in its ability to lock gates at the start of the school day.