The newly-opened Greenwich Free School has radically tough rules on phones, which involve searching pupils if there is “intelligence” they are carrying one and then confiscating it until the end of term.
But Lisa Wells claims her daughter Britney Staples was searched twice in one week, once by a male teacher with no female member of staff present.
‘Intelligence’..? Good grief, I can only hope they put a lot more of their efforts into teaching than they do running around acting like the cast of ‘Spooks’!
This is, of course, yet another of those ‘I agreed to the rules, but I didn’t think they meant it!’ cases:
Ms Wells, 42, of Charlton Park Lane, Charlton, said: “Her mobile phone was found in her possessionand they took it from her.”When I spoke to them they said I wasn’t allowed it back until the end of October.”
The legality of such action is questionable at best, which is why if you call their bluff they have no real choice:
The mum-of-five, whose other children are John Roan pupils, went into the school and persuaded them to hand the handset back.
It seems the teaching staff have a network to rival MI5 though:
But last week her daughter was searched again after claims she had been seen with a phone on the bus into school.
Seen by whom? A teacher? Another pupil?
Mum isn’t impressed:
She said: “My daughter needs a phone to keep her safe. She walks down Shooter’s Hill Road after school.”If she’s not back by 6pm I want to hear from her and make sure she’s OK.”
There’s actually a lot of sympathy for this viewpoint in the comments, which just goes to show how society has changed since my schooldays. Or has it? Maybe it’s just our perception of how it has changed, driven by the media?
Certainly, fewer parents were willing – in my day – to refuse to abide by school rules or attempt to subvert them, no matter how daft they might have appeared…
Ms Wells said: “I’m now trying to find out where she stands over going to a different school.
“I refuse to be blackmailed.”
She said: “I thought this was the right choice for my daughter.
“All schools have rules, I totally agree with that, but there are rules and there’s a prison camp.”
Actually, you aren’t allowed a mobile phone even in prison, but they still try to smuggle them in. Be glad the search stopped at a pat down!
The school admits it takes a hard lineon mobile phone use and is believed to be the only one in the borough with such a policy.A spokeswoman said: “We have a mobile phone policy all our parents are aware of and have signed up to.
“It’s about making sure our pupils are safe and can also learn in an environment with no distractions.
“Where we receive intelligence pupils are breaking our rules we will, firstly, ask them to empty their pockets and will check blazer pockets have been emptied, without any physical contact.
“Should we need to conduct a full search because pupils are being defiant, our clear policy is that the search would be conducted by a teacher of the same gender, with at least one other teacher present.”
And yet I can’t help wondering if there’s a reasonable compromise that the school could implement here, instead of a blanket policy that seems designed to encourage acceptance of surveillance and informing on your friends?
Or is that merely the long-term goal?