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Primary school pupils have been banned from “vigorous” running in the playground over health and safety fears in a move that has caused anger.

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Towers Junior School in Windsor Road, Hornchurch, introduced the restriction on “vigorous” activity while building works, which have temporarily reduced the size of the playground, are carried out.

“I know they have to keep still in the classroom but they have to let off steam, that’s what break time is for,” said one 
parent, who asked not to be named.

“Now they have to walk around. I’m all for health and safety but how can you do this to children?”

The work will see the creation of four new classrooms in time for next year.

And the parent accused the school of focusing on the forthcoming intake rather than its current pupils.

A statement from headteacher Marilyn Whiskerd explained the school’s priority is its existing youngsters and restrictions have only been placed on “vigorous running.”

“Through the design, planning and implementation stages our priority has always been the children currently on roll,” she said. “Following an initial risk assessment we put a temporary restriction on some games, such as ‘tag’, ‘it’ and football, to allow the children time to adjust to the space available.”

The school will also provide children with other options for break-time activities, which fall within health and safety regulations.

She added: “We will be continually risk assessing and make adaptations as necessary to ensure the health and safety of the children, which is paramount.

“Meanwhile we will be introducing the children to some additional games to substitute the three games that currently would be inappropriate.”

Mrs Whiskerd dismissed claims that the children would be given detention if they did run.

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