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Is this normal or quite unusual?

(13 Posts)
bunchamunchycrunchycarrots Mon 19-Aug-13 20:31:24

DD started P4 last week, and only just noticed today that parents have been 'banned' from entering the school grounds for 'health & safety' reasons. Basically you are not allowed past the school gate to either drop off it collect. The teachers don't venture anywhere near the school gates, either at drop off or collection so no idea when you are supposed to get the chance to catch her for a quick chat about anything. Can anyone she'd some light in this?

ilovepowerhoop Mon 19-Aug-13 21:36:59

we have never been allowed in the playground apart from the first couple of days of P1. This has been the case since before dd started school and she is in P6 now. It is so there are no unknown adults in the playground when there are children about. If we want a word with a teacher then we ask at the office if she is available.

morethanpotatoprints Mon 19-Aug-13 21:42:12

It varies tremendously from school to school and it is usually a rule acquired and passed down the years from one head to another and is also the result of risk assessment. As all premises differ so do the rules.
I have been to schools where you drop at the gates and they go in themselves to others where you enter the playground and wait outside the classroom and teacher brings them out.

bunchamunchycrunchycarrots Mon 19-Aug-13 21:43:08

Thanks, I wasn't sure as it seems like its come about out of the blue. It's only just been introduced and it just seems OTT. The layout of the school is such that its creating massive bottlenecks at the 2 exits/gates because the outside pavements are so narrow with busy roads next to them so the 'health & safety' issue inside the school grounds is now creating newer issues outside the gates.

Fuzzymum1 Mon 19-Aug-13 21:58:02

We can't get to the office without being in the playground - it's an old victorian school and the gates open directly into the playground. Parents mill about in the playground in the mornings and at the end of the day. It's a small village school so I'm not sure if that makes a difference.

bunchamunchycrunchycarrots Mon 19-Aug-13 22:06:21

This school is in a built up area, inner city type of school. I can well imagine someone had done something to bring this new rule about but it's really not helping with pick up time or getting an easy chance to grab a quick word with the teacher. It's chaos at 3pm because the pavements aren't big enough/wide enough to accommodate all the parents waiting, with all the children coming out trying to find their parent in the overcrowded pavements.

soapboxqueen Tue 20-Aug-13 09:26:01

If this is a new procedure, I would imagine that something has happened, something of a serious enough nature that required the management team to re-evaluate the safety of both staff and pupils.

Maybe an aggressive parent, maybe a child that went home alone or without the correct parent.

There is the possibly that it is related to an incident that happened at another school and the LEA had issued new guidance.

Make enquiries as to how parents are supposed to keep up a communication with staff with the new procedures are in place. There is the possibility they haven't thought all issues through yet.

Periwinkle007 Tue 20-Aug-13 09:30:36

our school has 2 playgrounds/buildings.

for reception and year 1 the rules are reception children until Oct half term can be taken into the playground until doors open, after that and for all yr1 children drop off is at the gate. pick ups are from inside the playground.

Yr2 upwards drops offs are at the gate, not sure on pick ups.

I think it is pretty normal nowadays. means staff at the gate only have to monitor children going in and out, not worry about adults and are they with children/with the right children/have they all left the premises etc.

we have signs up and regular reminders asking parents to move away from the gates as soon as children have entered to avoid crowding issues.

If you need to speak to a member of staff you have to request to with a note/via office or if they are reception/yr1 you can ring the bell and try to catch them quickly. at pick up you might get a quick chat such as 'what day is such and such happening' but not a proper chat, they need appointments to be made. Not sure with further up the school, assume it is by request only.

I assumed all schools were like this.

tiggytape Tue 20-Aug-13 10:12:52

Schools differ and a lot of it is to do with layout as much as the attitude of the Head / staff.
Some schools allow parents into the cloakrooms and classrooms which sounds wonderfully inclusive but isn't so great if the area is small and your 4 year old is being knocked over by pushchairs and jostled by other adults every morning. It can also prolong the agony for children with anxieties because it lengthens the whole good-bye process and lessens the ability of the staff to quietly and clamly start the day. A lot of children don't like the chaos and bustle whereas others like having mum coming in.

Some allow parents into the playground and some make them drop off at the gate. In those cases you really cannot just grab a word but can of course send a note or phone to let the teacher know you need to come in.
In your school's case, it sounds as if something may have happened for them to suddenly change things. If however you are worried it is dangerous on the pavements and roads outside now, you should let the school know as it is still early days and they may need to monitor it / change it / stagger the day a bit more.

Lonecatwithkitten Tue 20-Aug-13 12:35:44

Similar things have happened twice in DD's school and childcare time so far. On both occasions it has been the result of contact orders specifically preventing contact with a family member. Never knew which child or family member, but it enables staff to hold children at a distance to check adults present.

Periwinkle007 Tue 20-Aug-13 13:11:37

that would make sense Lonecat as it is a change for that school, some children in care or like you say where restraining orders are in place for example have to be protected. Or it could be in response to concerns about people hanging around in the local area or an attempted abduction or something.

bunchamunchycrunchycarrots Tue 20-Aug-13 14:28:34

Thanks for the replies. I think it could be any one/all of the reasons mentioned but I think it hasn't been well thought through at all. There are 2 narrow gates/entrances that they currently open in the morning/afternoon and one large gate around the corner on a quiet street. I think it would make more sense to open that plus one gate at the other side as opposed to the 2 narrow gates. I've also phoned to ask how you are now supposed to speak to the teacher re any concerns/issues. I was initially told to send a note in with DD - I pointed out DD is not a reliable source for passing info on so asked again what was the process to speak to the teacher. I was then told to go to the office on thurs morn 10 mins before the bell to speak to her, but it was clear the woman in the office isn't happy even doing that.

Ill see the teacher on thurs and ask her to find out long term how they intend to address this as I think it's not been well thought through In my opinion.

Periwinkle007 Tue 20-Aug-13 15:05:24

We have more gates to the school than they open if that makes sense. They open the bigger gates which are on to a path rather than the smaller gate onto the main road so exactly what you think they should do where you are. I would put that suggestion in writing to them if I were you.

I would also ask in writing for an official line on what you are supposed to do about making an appointment to speak to a teacher. In our school they say that once they are in Yr3 or above then it is the child's responsibility to pass on any notes etc so they see them as being responsible for it then. Under that age they check the bags alternate days or something like that.

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