5-year old left stuck up a tree by bizarre health and safety policy

March 24, 2010 | by | 6 Comments

A five-year-old pupil was left stranded in a tree at school because of a bizarre health and safety policy – which banned teachers from helping him down.

The mischievous youngster climbed the 20ft tree at the end of morning break and refused to come down.

But instead of helping him, staff followed guidelines and retreated inside the school building to ”observe from a distance” so the child would not get ”distracted and fall”.

The child was only rescued when passer-by Kim Barrett noticed the child and helped him down herself.

But instead of being thanked for her actions by the headteacher of the Manor School in Melksham, Wilts., she was reported to the POLICE for trespassing.

Kim, who lives in Melksham with her six-year-old daughter who attends a different school, said she is ”surprised” and ”shocked” by the school’s policy.

She said: ”I stopped to ask him if he was OK, and it became clear that he’d been there since the end of playtime, which had been around half an hour earlier.

”I was immediately concerned. I walked over to the school with the boy and was met by the associate head.

”He didn’t appear at all concerned, and was actually very patronising, patting me on the arm and asking me ‘what do you expect me to do, exactly, dear?’

”When I said I thought it was a serious incident, he then said his only concern was me trespassing.

”I was initially surprised that no one appeared to have missed this boy, no one could have known where he was because they could not have seen him from the school, and I was shocked at the way I was dealt with.”

The incident occurred on the morning of March 1 as Kim was walking home past the side entrance of 213-pupil The Manor Church of England Primary School.

Kim claims that she walked around to the front of the school, onto the playing field and then helped the schoolboy down before taking him back to his class.

But the school alleges that she ”approached the school in an inappropriate way” and asked her to leave the premises after she got into a row with staff over the boy’s welfare.

Later that evening a letter from headteacher Beverley Martin was posted through Kim’s door, explaining that the school had contacted police about the incident.

The next morning she was visited by a PCSO who told her she had committed a trespassing offence by helping the young schoolboy down from the tree.

Kim said: ”I felt really angry because I felt I had saved the school and this boy from something that could have been far worse, and that instead of thanking me I was under investigation.

”It was ridiculous. He was all on his own, there was no one near him and you couldn’t see the school buildings from where he was.

”Not only was he at least 6ft off the ground, but someone taller than me could easily have reached in from the pavement and plucked him off the branch.”

Headteacher Beverley Martin confirmed that the school’s policy prevents staff going to the aid of children who have climbed trees.

She said: ”The safety of our pupils is our priority and we would like to make it clear that this child was being observed at all times during this very short incident.

”Like other schools whose premises include wooded areas, our policy when a child climbs a tree, is for staff to observe the situation from a distance so the child does not get distracted and fall.

”We would strongly urge members of the public not to climb over a padlocked gate to approach children as their motives are not clear to staff.

”To protect children, we cannot assume that people who enter the school grounds without permission have innocent intentions and must act accordingly.

”If people are concerned about a child’s welfare then they should go to the reception and alert a member of staff, who will be happy to help.

”I am sure these expectations are the same in every school and are centred on children’s wellbeing.”

A letter sent to Kim by Wiltshire Council added: ”You may well have acted initially out of concern for the safety of the child but any such concerns should have been raised with a member of staff.

”You subsequently behaved in a verbally aggressive manner to a member of staff.”

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Comments (6)

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  1. there all lies the boy was not stuck up a tree for an hour and he could climb down the lady is out of order i am a pupil at the school so i now what happend so shut up and stop lieing i now the lady she is nice but it does not give her the right to climb over the gate of a school

  2. he was up the tree for like 10 mins

  3. :@:@ says:

    And if he fell when no teachers were there? Also it does not say he was up there for an hour, but 'around half an hour'. This is another silly health and safety law. This was discussed at my work, which consists of around 40/50 students, and we all agreed we would of helped the child down.

  4. :@:@ says:

    And if he fell when no teachers were there? Also it does not say he was up there for an hour, but 'around half an hour'. This is another silly health and safety law. This was discussed at my work, which consists of around 40/50 students, and we all agreed we would of helped the child down.

  5. rebecca says:

    WHO CARES IF THE LADY WAS NICE OR NOT.SHE DID THE RIGHT THING BUT HELPING HIM DOWN.THE STAFF OBVIOUSLY DIDNT GIVE A SHIT ABOUT IT.HOW IS "WATCHING HIM FROM A DISTANCE' GOING TO HELP HIM IF HE IS FALLING? THEY SHOULD HAVE MADE HIM GET DOWN THE TREE AND NOT JUST LEFT HIM UP THERE. IT SAYS IN THE STATEMENT THAT THE LADY SHOULD HAVE GONE TO RECEPTION AND TOLD THEM BUT WHAT WOULD THEY HAVE DONE? WATCHED FROM A DISTANCE TOO. WHAT HAS THE BOYS MOTHERS GOT TO SAY ABOUT THIS?

  6. rebecca says:

    WHO CARES IF THE LADY WAS NICE OR NOT.SHE DID THE RIGHT THING BUT HELPING HIM DOWN.THE STAFF OBVIOUSLY DIDNT GIVE A SHIT ABOUT IT.HOW IS "WATCHING HIM FROM A DISTANCE' GOING TO HELP HIM IF HE IS FALLING? THEY SHOULD HAVE MADE HIM GET DOWN THE TREE AND NOT JUST LEFT HIM UP THERE. IT SAYS IN THE STATEMENT THAT THE LADY SHOULD HAVE GONE TO RECEPTION AND TOLD THEM BUT WHAT WOULD THEY HAVE DONE? WATCHED FROM A DISTANCE TOO. WHAT HAS THE BOYS MOTHERS GOT TO SAY ABOUT THIS?

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