Milton Keynes mum told to send child to school wearing 'helmet or mask' after complaining about playground injury
A Milton Keynes mum who complained after her young son was badly injured in his school playground was told by a governor to 'send him to school in a helmet or mask if he was that fragile'.
The eight-year-old boy was knocked over by other children running about during lunchtime play at Bow Brickhill Primary School.
He hit his face on the corner of a bench and, nine months on, has been left with a permanent 'dent' on his cheekbone.
The mum questioned the school about lunchtime supervision and the safety of the position of the bench.
She claims the matter was brushed aside, and as a result she asked for a formal complaints hearing where school governor and council representatives were present.
The chair of the hearing was governor Deborah Brownhill-McCall.
“She wasn't treating my concerns seriously. She said (to me) 'If you think your son is so fragile, why don't you send him to school in a helmet or a mask?' I could tell she was being sarcastic,” said the mum, who has now received a formal apology via MK Council.
“I was allowed to take a witness to the hearing and they were horrified too at this remark. It was just not professional from a school governor.”
The mum took her concerns to the Department for Education and also her MP Iain Stewart.
As a result, she says the school has now banned her from contacting them unless it is about an absence or her son's homework.
“All I want is to know children are safely supervised at lunchtime and for this bench to be moved away from the AstroTurf area, where the children run around.
“My son was injured and it has left a permanent dent in his face. Yet I am being treated as though I am in the wrong for trying to make sure it does not happen again.”
This week Milton Keynes Council wrote to the mum to apologise for the governor's remark.
The letter stated: “The School remains keen to engage with you in a positive way in order to resolve this matter. To this end, and following consultation with the Department of Education, the School formally apologises for any offence or distress caused by the conduct of the governing chair of the panel.”
It is not known whether any action is to be taken against the governor. The Citizen requested the school and council contact her for a comment but nothing has arrived.
However, Bow Brickhill school head Pam McBurnie said she was herself “deeply regretful” that mediation was offered to the parent but was declined.
The child continues to attend and enjoy school, she said.
She added: “As the Citizen is no doubt aware, letters from the Chief Executive of the Council and Legal Services have been sent to the parent confirming that all appropriate processes have been followed by the school and which drew a line under the matter, therefore no further comments will be made.”
But the mum says the battle is not over.
"The school have still not moved the bench, despite informing the DfE that they have," she said.
She added: "It is a sweeping statement to say that the child continues to enjoy school. He enjoys being with his friends, but his personality has altered since the accident, and I would go as far as to say this incident has had a detrimental effect on our whole family.
"The matter is not closed, since the school have not followed the government's 'Best Practice School Complaints Procedures 2019', therefore is still outstanding with the DfE."