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To think DDs school are a bit lax about kids going home for lunch?

(88 Posts)
dontrunwithscissors Sat 18-Jul-15 10:07:50

h. DDs are at primary school. The school is very strict (of course) about taking a register in the morning and will ring parents if a child isn't there and you haven't notified then they are sick. They have lots of security for the building itself so nobody can just walk in. Good. What Id expect.

However, the school grounds are open and people walk through the playground as a short cut. I find it a bit bizarre that they're so worried about security in the school building, but during playground any child can walk through the gates and off the grounds (DD has confirmed this happened once, there's nobody watching the gates) & any adult can meander through the grounds while the kids are playing.

Also, if a child wants to go home for school dinner, all they do is tick a box next to their name on the lunch form and walk out of the gates. On one occasion, DD1 realised she had ticked the wrong box--she said she was having packed lunch instead of home lunch. Nobody picked up on this. Nobody checks for the younger children that there's someone there to collect them at lunch time.

AIBU to think they should have more robust procedures? I read a thread recently about a 4 year old walking to school on their own and loads of people said that their DC's school checks that younger children are being collected by adults. None of this happens at DDs school.

dontrunwithscissors Sat 18-Jul-15 10:09:09

Sorry for crap typing, on my phone with DD1 wrapped around me.

Goshthatsspicy Sat 18-Jul-15 10:14:21

Do you live in the UK?

spanieleyes Sat 18-Jul-15 10:16:44

This sounds appalling! Have you raised your concerns with the Head/Governors because that is the first thing you should do, straight away! And if something isn't put in place to your satisfaction, then a call to OFSTED would seem appropriate ( and I say that as a teacher who hates OFSTED!)

Imachocolateportal Sat 18-Jul-15 10:19:46

YANBU. It does sound very lax to me. All the schools I have been involved in wouldn't have access to the playground for anyone who has not been through "security". Children would also have to have parental permission to leave at lunch and be collected by someone over 16 (thinking about primary school).

That set up sounds like the way things were when I was at primary school many years ago. I thought all schools had moved on and tightened up on these matters.

Hassled Sat 18-Jul-15 10:21:55

That is gobsmacking - have you raised your concerns with the Head? If not, you really should. When were they last Ofsteded?

dontrunwithscissors Sat 18-Jul-15 10:33:55

Yes I'm in the UK (Scotland). It seems pretty standard around here--I certainly know of two other schools that are this way.

Schools where I grew up many years ago were much more careful than this. At secondary, a parent had to sign a letter saying you were allowed home and you then were given a special pass to show. At the local secondary, all the kids flood out the school and into the town to buy lunch. I'm talking about hundreds of kids into a small town. You can't move for them and there are queues down the street for Subway etc. Parents must spend a fortune and there's no way the school can know who is on the grounds in the event of a fire.

Cornettoninja Sat 18-Jul-15 11:09:29

Even back in the days of yore when I was at school only sixth formers were allowed off site at lunch time.
Never saw it for anyone younger.

I suspect unless there are lots of complaints about behaviour or inadequate catering facilities that some schools will carry on with what's worked for them.

Raise it with the head and see what the reasoning behind it is.

I also wondered if you were in the UUK as my kid's school in Germany has totally unfenced fields at the back and uses the village square at the front - school ends before lunch but working parents who use the afternoon club sign a consent form allowing kids to walk to the one and only vvillage shop unsupervised in the lunch break - kids at the school are age 6-10. Never heard of any problems but it's a tiny village and there's no inclusion here so they do a lot of things that would be unthinkable if therewere a wider range of children at the school.

DD will go to secondary in September aged 10 - there is an afternoon club available from 1pm but school finishes at 12.15 and the children areentirely responsible for themselves for those 45 minutes and can do whatever they want - there is a linked school down the road with a canteen they are allowed to use, but they are also free to walk into town or go to a local shop or cafe or just sit by the river and eat sandwiches...

I did think it was all very high security in the UK though (used to teach secondary andat the 3 schools I worked in the was no chance of kids leaving the site - in fact teachers leaving site was heavily disapproved of at 2 of the 3 schools too).

Athenaviolet Sat 18-Jul-15 11:29:17

Ime English & Scottish schools have different approaches to security.

AgentProvocateur Sat 18-Jul-15 11:39:52

Pretty standard for my DC's primary - also in Scotland. I think it's different here as most kids go to the local school, so it's normal to walk, alone or with friends, from four or five. There's lollypop people at the crossings.

StoorieHoose Sat 18-Jul-15 11:43:28

Sounds like my DDs primary too (also in Scotland) although I'm sure that the playground helpers would approach an adult wandering through the playground at playtime.

cashewnutty Sat 18-Jul-15 11:48:19

All the primary schools i know are like this (Scotland also). My DD's primary was used as a shortcut and the kids could pop home for lunch. It seems entirely normal to me.

kua Sat 18-Jul-15 12:04:32

My D'S started to go home for lunch at around the age of 8. He had one road crossing with a lollipop man. He never had to show a pass to anyone though I had written to the school to say that he would start going home/ grandparents at lunchtime.

He was the only one that do this, the lollipop man was glad he had someone to help!

I'm also in Scotland.

LilyMayViolet Sat 18-Jul-15 12:05:26

That's very poor. We have locked gates except for dropping off and picking up times. I think the situation you describe is very unsafe.

AmysTiara Sat 18-Jul-15 12:11:16

I'm in England and there is a school like that by me. I have to say I never have it a thought but now I'm wondering why none of the parents are bothered by adults traipsing through the playground.

Mrsjayy Sat 18-Jul-15 12:12:53

You might live where I live grin our primary is a walk through as well i never walk through at playtime or lunch though its not fair on the kids imo its always been like that a few years ago they did try and close it off but never managed it there is an unwritten rule about breaktimes.

Mrsjayy Sat 18-Jul-15 12:14:39

Going home for lunch was just walk out walk back they were not allowed back till 1.15 cant remember why

OddBoots Sat 18-Jul-15 12:20:32

This does sound rather worrying, I'm surprised it is so common, I've never imagined there are playgrounds with public access, that sounds very wrong.

IsItStupid Sat 18-Jul-15 12:28:47

Sounds familiar- at my old school you weren't technically allowed out at lunchtime but the playground was right next to the gates which had been rusted open for about twenty years. Surprisingly, it got stricter in secondary with registers taken hourly instead of once at around 9am!

Does sound a bit lax though. Do they do an afternoon register? What happens if there is a fire at lunchtime?

Mrsjayy Sat 18-Jul-15 12:34:06

Id imagine the office staff will look at the tick sheet for home lunchers and phone if they didnt come back after kids are only allowed out without an adult from p4 in our school

dontrunwithscissors Sat 18-Jul-15 12:35:25

I have wondered if this is more common in Scotland. (I went to school in England.)

My greatest concern is that they have an unreliable approach to recording who may be in the building at lunch time in the event of a fire (ie a kid pops in to go to the loo).

I also find it bizarre that they have such tight control who enters in to the building (which I remember starting after Dunblane), but anyone can wander around the kids at playtime. I know there are people supervising, but there are two huge playgrounds and the gates are around a corner and down a lane so they can't see everywhere. Random people do cut through at playtime.

Mrsjayy Sat 18-Jul-15 12:41:02

Have you asked anybody about it ? ask why the gates are open at breaktimes

UrethraFranklin1 Sat 18-Jul-15 12:48:39

I dont really see the problem. Its a school, not a prison. So people can walk past them on a playground.....same as they can at any playground outside of school? They can go home for lunch, but presumably only if their parents have decided this is fine for them, so no problem there.

If the building is actually on fire nobody is reading endless lists to see where everyone is meant to be, they clear the building and work it out afterwards.

dontrunwithscissors Sat 18-Jul-15 12:55:55

It's not walking beside the playground, it's walking through the playground. Parents aren't responsible for telling the school their DCs can go home for lunch; children have to remember to tick a list when they leave. There are no checks. (My DD knows a troublemaker child in her class who has decided to walk out the school and wander around with out anyone knowing.) This is from the beginning of P1.

My DHs work has people check in/out so they have a list to check in the event of a fire and know if someone was trapped. That's obviously not possible in a public building, but the school has registers to check for other times, but not at lunch.

From what I can tell, this is the culture of schools around here. They can't make it foolproof, but for 4 year old children I think they could take better care b

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