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Charlie Jenkins, 10, left to make his own way home from Orchard Vale School

By North Devon Journal  |  Posted: November 15, 2012

ANGRY: Kelly Jenkins with her son Charlie, 10, who was turned away from his school disco. Picture: Rob Tibbles. Ref: BNRT20121108E-001_C

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A TEN-year-old boy was left to walk home at night without an adult after being refused entry to his school's Hallowe'en disco.

Charlie Jenkins, a pupil at Orchard Vale Primary School in Barnstaple, and a friend had to make their own way home after staff at the school told them they weren't welcome at the disco because of an earlier incident.

Charlie's mother Kelly Jenkins conceded her son hadn't had to walk far to get home, since the family live just a few hundred yards from the school, but his friend had to walk a far greater distance to get home.

The pair were barred from going into the October 19 disco after they climbed on to the roof of the school to retrieve a tennis ball.

They were sent home but Kelly said she had not been told not to send the boys to the disco which was held later that day.

She said: "If they had told me Charlie wouldn't be welcome at the disco I wouldn't have sent him back.

"I watched him cross the road and saw him join the queue to get into the disco. At that point I thought he was in the care of the school and was safe."

When Charlie was refused entry he was scared he'd get into trouble with his mum and it was half an hour before he arrived home, at 9.10pm.

Kelly, who said she has never had any issues with the school before, was upset her son was turned away and expected to make his own way home.

She said: "At no point did the school ring me to tell me. If they had I could have gone and picked them both up."

Orchard Vale's head teacher Jan Baker said: "Since the disco school staff have offered Mrs Jenkins several opportunities to meet with me to resolve and discuss the concerns raised. So far this offer has not been taken up."

She said the school has a policy in place which makes sure it is always willing to listen to parents in order to improve its work.

She said: "On this occasion the child was reported by a parent and other children to be running and playing on the roof and knocking on windows prior to the disco.

"He was asked to leave the site, return home and not to come back that evening, which he did.

"The school's responsibility for the welfare of children at a disco begins and ends at the main entrance door. The expectation of parents is to deliver and collect them to and from this point.

"If this had been the case in this incident, communication would have been swift and clear regarding the earlier behaviour, and decisions made when the child returned to the disco."

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  • iseveryidused  |  November 28 2012, 12:03AM

    So you didn't ensure your poorly behaved child was safely within the schools care before you abandoned him? Also, I'm guessing he was playing on the schools roof outside of school hours unsupervised? Not concerned about his welfare then were you? Maybe if you lead by example to your son and took responsibility for your own actions he may follow suit. Try supporting the teachers instead of blaming them for your own shortcomings

    |   9
  • polly_24  |  November 20 2012, 5:33PM

    How strange that if this is the case that the other childs mother is not also in the paper. It quotes "his friend had a far greater distance to get home". Why is she not complaining about this safety issue?? It is clear that whether they are year 1 or year 6 that they should be taken and collected from the school disco. They do not take place during school hours and so are only the responsibility of the school for the actual length of the disco.

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  • spurs13  |  November 20 2012, 4:58PM

    Well said wombles you are exactlly right. The whole point was that the school didnt act in the childs best interests. year 6 kids DO NOT have their parents walk them to the door. its embarassing for them. A phone call is all that was needed to avoid all this and if was embarrassed by my sons behaviour then why would I go ahead and publish the story. Oh and just for the record I am very happy with my sons education and state YET AGAIN that this was a safety issue and nothing else.

    |   -6
  • wombles  |  November 20 2012, 4:47PM

    WHY can no one see that the school is at fault and not mrs Jenkins she waited for over 2 weeks to hear from the school it is the schools job to contact the parents about issues and not wait until they are scared becuse it is going to be printed in the journal this is a childs safety(even if the child may have been naughty all children are at some point they push to find out there limits) not reputation of school next time it could be FATEL and then what that is all this MUM wanted to get across to you all.....

    |   -5
  • Hillary  |  November 20 2012, 12:23PM

    Polly. You wait until you have a problem you will then see that the oh so caring staff are not quite so excellent and your child will be the last thing on their minds.

    |   -9
  • DevonGirl258  |  November 20 2012, 12:15PM

    I went to this school and it's a very good school. I know for fact that school discos that parents MUST accompany their child to the school door for the disco and not just " watched him cross the road and saw him join the queue". Your responsible for your child, so why did you not drop him right at the door? All of this could have been avoided then.

    |   9
  • polly_24  |  November 20 2012, 10:30AM

    Orchard Vale is an excellcent school. It is the responsibility of parents to ensure that their children are taken to the school Disco and staff will NOT let children out untill their respective parent/guardian is there. This is an article about one or two children and is not representative of the school as a whole. The headteacher and the staff are always willilng to discuss any issues that may arise. In response to Hilary my experience is of a caring, inovative and very positive school and it has given my children a great start to their education.

    |   6
  • spurs13  |  November 20 2012, 10:28AM

    The reason we didnt meet with the school is because we felt it shouldnt be us who made the first move. They were the ones in the wrong. We asked constantlly for 2 weeks for a response from the head teacher who only bothered to contact us after the journal contacted her about the issue going to print. As for my sons behaviour....... I at no point said I condoned his behaviour and had I been made aware of the incident I would have made the decision to keep him home from the disco myself. The real issue here is one of safety and the staff involved failed in their DUTY OF CARE all because they couldnt be bothered to pick up the phone to make sure the boys could get home safely....END OF!

    |   -15
  • Hillary  |  November 20 2012, 7:27AM

    Typical 'Scumchard Vale' this has to be the worst primary school in the area.

    |   -11
  • flobberdob1  |  November 16 2012, 8:48PM

    Sack the staff responsible for this .

    |   -20