Northampton primary school pupils losing minutes off their break time if they are late

Blackthorn Academy in Northampton
Blackthorn Academy in Northampton

A parent of a pupil at a primary school in Northampton says she is “appalled” at a new policy in which students lose part of their break time if they are late in the morning.

Parents of children at Blackthorn Academy have been sent a text message stating that if their child arrives after 9am, they will lose the “equivalent minutes” from their break time.

Michelle Ginn, principal at the school, said the school had been forced to review procedures due to a number of children arriving late.

Ms Ginn said: “At Blackthorn Academy, we are working hard to improve our punctuality and attendance which is key to pupils making good progress at school and a good life skill for their future lives.

“Our school day starts at 9.00am, with doors opening at 8.45am. It is an expectation that pupils should be in school by 9.00am or they are deemed late. Due to a number of children being regularly late we have had to review our procedures for dealing with lateness.

“Parents are always contacted if their child is late and they are reminded of the expectation and our start time. The new procedures were communicated through text message, which is the best form of communication with our parents, in advance of the new procedure starting. If children are punctual, we reward them for this with our ‘Early Bird Smileys’.

“We are, of course, sensitive to any exceptional circumstances.”

However, Kasia Kujawska, who has a child at the school, said she was “appalled that this is what the 21st-century education system has come to in the UK”.

She said: “It’s shocking, not only what they state, but this is how we find out and get no other warnings or further information.

“This school, in particular, is a poor example of the education system.

“I posted up the picture on my personal Facebook page and other parents agree that it is totally unreasonable.”