Headteacher defends playground after parent gathers more than 150 signatures on petition about “dangerous” gym area
PUBLISHED: 10:58 15 December 2016 | UPDATED: 10:58 15 December 2016
An angered parent claims a “dangerous” playground spot at her childrens’ school has forced her to start a petition – in a bid to prevent further injuries to pupils.
Mandy Dwyer, who has two children at Mead Primary, claims the school are refusing to put safety first as children continue to play on a gravelled area of the playground leaving many coming home with cuts and bruises.
The mum started a petition after learning the school had no plans to install a rubber “safety surface” where gym equipment is installed.
Mrs Dwyer has now gathered more than 150 signatures which asks parents whether they believe the stoned gravel surface is fit for purpose.
She said: “I know of lots of children who have been injured after playing in the gym area.
“I started the petition as I just want to look after the safety of not just my children but every pupil who goes to the school.
“It’s not like me to do something like this but I feel like the school has to do something, the area is very dangerous.”
But the school has been quick to defend the spot which cost £3,000 to install.
Malcolm Drakes, interim executive headteacher at the school in Amersham Road, Romford, believes the area is safe and inspections by Ofsted and the council support this.
“Ofsted and the local authority have visited the school and made no recommendations for us to make any changes to the gym equipment area,” he said.
“The element of risk cannot be completely taken out from any part of the playground, the gym equipment does not record anymore injuries than any other part.”
Mr Drakes also insists there is not money in the school’s pot of money currently for any changes after spending tens of thousands on a series of improvements which he claims provides pupils with the “best outdoor learning environment in east London”.
A rubber safety surface for the area of its size has been quoted between £18-23,000 to install.
He believes if parents feel so strongly about the gravelled area, they should dip into the Friends of Mead fund which has generated £7,000 from school activities organised by parents.