Parents demand action on claims of bullying at Portsmouth school


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Pupils walk to school as part of Portsmouth council challenge

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PARENTS staged a protest outside a city school in a bid to put pressure on the headteacher, claiming he is ignoring bullying.

A group of parents gathered at Charles Dickens Primary School yesterday morning.

Parents protest about bullying at Charles Dickens Primary School in Portsmouth

Parents protest about bullying at Charles Dickens Primary School in Portsmouth

They claim their children are being bullied by other pupils and they are angry at the way the school is dealing with it.

They want newly-appointed headteacher Craig Duncan, to leave.

Liz Sweeney, 25, from Wingfield Street, has a four-year-old, Shamus.

She said: ‘My son has been bullied since the day he started. I went to the head. He said if it doesn’t happen every day it’s not bullying.

‘He’s lost control of the whole school.’

Cheryl Thomas, 25, from Sultan Road has a seven-year-old son, Bailey, who is in Year 3 at the school.

She said: ‘The previous headteacher was fantastic.

‘But at the end of Year 2 before they broke up, it started.

‘He’s playing up in the mornings now. He’s not eating his breakfast.

‘Something needs to get sorted. The bullying needs to stop.’

Parents say their children have been refusing to go to school, not eating or sleeping properly and wetting the bed.

Rachel Restall, 35, from Tottenham Road, took her two children out of the school just a couple of weeks into the new term.

Dylan, nine, and Shannon, eight, have been moved to Arundel Court Primary.

Rachel said: ‘It’s been going for two years but it’s getting worse.

‘Since he’s taken over as headteacher it’s become atrocious. He doesn’t listen to anybody.’

But Mr Duncan said an investigation has now been launched at the school.

He said: ‘We are very concerned to hear about issues parents have expressed about bullying at the school.

‘We are therefore now working with the council who have commissioned an independent investigation to look further into the issues raised as soon as possible.

‘Bullying of any kind is unacceptable in our school.

‘We have a clear behaviour policy which says that if bullying or something like it does occur that we will follow up any incidents related to it promptly and effectively as soon as we are aware of them.’

Portsmouth City Council has expressed concerns over the bullying claims.

Di Mitchell, head of education, said: ‘We have been contacted by the chair of governors at the school alerting us to concerns parents have raised.

‘We are therefore now arranging for an independent review to take place in the school to look in more detail at these issues and as part of this are inviting parents to discuss their concerns with us.’

Councillor Rob Wood, cabinet member for children and education, said: ‘We take all matters of bullying very seriously and this matter needs to be resolved.’