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Parents’ petition claims Park House School in Newbury is a ‘prison camp’

PARENTS who are furious with a school’s behaviour regime have signed a petition demanding change.

It is the latest chapter in a saga first reported on by the Newbury Weekly News in 2022.

At the time, the NWN revealed how a bid to turn around the failing establishment had caused anger and upset among some parents.

It followed the takeover of the establishment by the Greenshaw Learning Trust after an Ofsted inspection had found the previous quality of education, behaviour and attitude of pupils, leadership and management to be inadequate.

Chief executive of the Greenshaw Learning Trust, Will Smith, said at the time that the trust “has a proven track record of improving schools from a similar starting point as Park House and has the skills and capacity to deliver the necessary improvements at the school.”

And many parents were, and continue to be, highly supportive of the new school management.

Nevertheless, the petition this week has 385 signatories.

To put that in context the school, according to its website, has 1,300 pupils on roll including a sixth form of around 300.

The petition states: “It's now time to stop all these silly inappropriate rules being made up by these schools.

“Our children are being punished in a way that even a young offenders prison wouldn't do.

“[Isolation] for the whole day without having a break, for simple mistakes that human beings will make.

“Forgetting a pen, wearing white socks, wearing black trainers due to school shoes being broken.

“Normal school day finishes at 3pm, however [isolation] finishes at 3.15pm meaning children are missing their school transport home.

“For most children this is their only way of transport to get home.

“Where does this stop?

“No wonder children don’t want to go to school...we need to make a stand for our children and protect them as best as we can.”

One signatory stated: “We are sick of the military style subjugation of our daughter's character and learning capability in the name of undisrupted learning.”

Another, in a misspelled post, stated: “They use to run colddets (sic) the same a consentration (sic) camp not a place of education are the teachers punished the same?”

The school responded in a statement: “Our response is unchanged – as always, any parents with concerns should contact the school directly, and we look forward to working with them to best support their child."

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