Killjoy school leaders have banned parents from attending their children’s sports day – over fears it could cause ‘a Hillsborough-style crush’.
A headteacher wrote to parents telling them they were not invited to next month’s event – which includes the traditional egg and spoon race – because of “rising pupil numbers”.
The school claimed the increase in the number of parents wanting to cheer on their kids could cause a crush on the playing fields.
Some parents even say they were told the school implemented the ban in order to “avoid another Hillsborough”.
The bizarre ruling was enforced at Glapton Academy primary school in Clifton, Notts., this week when headteacher Ruth Ellis wrote to parents.
The newsletter to parents, sent to parents on Monday stated: “Thursday 3rd July is planned for Sports day.
“Unfortunately, due to rising pupil numbers, we will not be able to invite parents to sports day this year.”
Yesterday (Wed), furious parents blasted the decision – branding it “health and safety gone mad”.
David Elliott, 35, whose six-year-old son attends the school, fumed: “This is bonkers. Simple as that.
“We got a letter from school saying parents would not be invited to this year’s sports day.
“I rang the school up and spoke to someone who said it was because of health and safety.
“I asked what that meant and the woman said it was because there were more pupils at the school and therefore more potential parents coming on sports day.
“When I asked what the school was afraid might happen she said there was a potential for a crush. I said ‘what like Hillsborough?’ sort of as a joke, and she said ‘yes.’
“I was gobsmacked. I’ve never heard anything do ridiculous in my life.”
Other parents threatened to boycott the sports day on July 3 in protest at the ban.
Vicky Samson, 32, whose two children Elliott, 11, and Daisy-May, five, go to the school, said: “I’m not happy about this at all.
“If we can’t watch, then my children will not be taking part in the sports day.
“My son is in Year 6, so it will be his last sports day – I really want to see him compete.
“The sports day is held on a massive field as well and it’s never full.
“They manage to cram all the parents into a school hall, but apparently we won’t be able to watch on the huge field.”
Lisa Darby, 32, whose six-year-old daughter Libby is in Year 1, added: “I was absolutely fuming when I read the letter.
“Sports day should be a family event and parents should be able to share their child’s excitement at taking part in all the races.
“It’s also a big part of growing up – I remember having my parents there at every sports day when I was a child.
“They even used to take part in things like the egg-and-spoon race.”
Furious Lisa said she was allowed to attend every sports day when her older daughter Chloe, 13, was a pupil at the school.
She added: “It just seems really unfair on Libby now, that she can’t have her mum and dad there like Chloe did.
“I just can’t understand the decision. It seems a big enough sports field to me and I don’t think there are more pupils there than last year.”
Another angry mum Manda Wilkinson, 26, said her son Logan, eight, was upset to learn his parents wouldn’t be able to cheer him on.
She added: “I find it disgusting that the school aren’t giving us the choice over whether we want to come or not.
“When you’re a working parent, it’s hard to get involved in school life, so you have to take every opportunity you can.
“Are they going to stop us watching the Christmas plays next?”
The primary school, which only became an academy in January 2013, was rated “good” by Ofsted in their last inspection in June last year.
Inspectors reported that the school – which caters for boys and girls aged between 3-11 – had 318 pupils on the roll, an increase from 284 who attended in 2010.
The teachers’ union NASUWT also hit out at Glapton Academy, blaming their new status for the decision.
Neil Lawrence, secretary of the union in Nottingham, said: “The decision to ban parents from sports day is another example of the loss of control the community feels when a local school becomes an academy and withdraws from local authority control.
“Decisions are made arbitrarily and without consultation.”
Roger Steel, Conservative Nottingham City Councillor for the Clifton North ward, added:
“It’s traditional that parents attend sports days and I can’t see any logic behind restricting them.
“There’s a benefit to both the children and the parents, who are proud to see their youngsters getting fit through sport.”
The Association for Physical Education has also criticised the school’s decision.
Spokesman Eileen Marchant said: “Schools always have reasons for making decisions but it’s a shame this school hasn’t made public its reasons.
“Parents always enjoy going to school sports days and it’s important to have them there to encourage the children.
“So much investment has been put into primary schools through the Government’s PE and school sport premium.
“One of the things schools are expected to do with this is increase competitive opportunities for children. Sports day would be an ideal opportunity to showcase how they are achieving this.”