Head teacher dismisses 'stampede' claims after children were hurt when exit gate at Milton Keynes school was locked

Incident prompted full review of exit procedures with additional safeguards put in place

By Olga Norford
Thursday, 18th November 2021, 6:16 pm
Updated Thursday, 18th November 2021, 6:18 pm

Claims of a stampede as pupils tried to leave school after staff failed to unlock one of the exit gates, have been dismissed by the head teacher.

Some parents complained staff at St Paul's Catholic School in Leadenhall, Milton Keynes, had 'refused to unlock the gate which caused a stampede with children thrown to the floor and crushed'.

One parent said: "The incident happened as the afternoon end of school bell rang with the head teacher now reviewing CCTV In an attempt to understand their failure in protecting the duty of care and health and safety towards the students. Many students are in distress and now considering boycotting the rest of the school year."

The incident happened at St Paul's School, in Phoenix Drive, Leadenhall, Milton Keynes

But the school has been quick to allay parents' concerns and say the matter has been exaggerated by some.

Head teacher, Joanne Hoarty, explained: "There was an incident which happened at 3.35pm as pupils were leaving. One of the exit gates had not been opened as early as usual and children in Year 8 who were anxious to leave the premises didn't hear or respond to the whistle when staff tried to manage the situation.

"There was quite a lot of pushing as the children tried to leave but to my knowledge only two children were slightly hurt and both were dealt with on site. One child was checked over by a qualified school nurse and then picked up by her mother.

"The other pupil was returned to school and I spoke to the parent and all was OK. At this stage I don't know of any other children that were hurt.

"It was more scary than anything else, some of the children were distressed and I understand this and I understand parents' concerns.

"We've had these exit procedures in place for many years and unfortunately it was a perfect storm, but thankfully nobody was seriously injured or needed medical intervention."

In an official statement, the school said: "The school is aware of an incident that occurred at the end of school today where one of our exit gates was not opened as early as usual at the end of the school day.

"This resulted in a large volume of children in the vicinity wishing to leave the site by that exit, which unfortunately resulted in a number of our staff team intervening and supporting the pupils on their safe exit from school.

"We are able to confirm that as result of this incident a full review of our exit procedures for pupils has been completed and additional safeguards have been put in place."