A man was left fuming at a South London school where he claims his nephew had his bike taken off him by teachers for not wearing a helmet. It is one of a few complaints the “strict” and “harsh” Ark Greenwich Free School has faced from parents and relatives in recent weeks, with one dad lamenting his daughter’s two-hour Friday detentions.
The secondary school, rated “good” by Ofsted in 2016, said they make no apologies for taking “road safety and punctuality seriously”. Will, who did not give a second name, was picking up his niece and nephew earlier this week.
He spoke to the Local Democracy Reporting Service about his nephew’s experience. He said: “My nephew got detention just because he wasn’t wearing a bike helmet. They locked his bike up with a different lock [to his] and gave him detention. [He got his bike back] the same day but my sister [his mum] had to give him a helmet. They would not release the bike until he had a helmet. They are very strict from what I’ve heard.”
READ MORE:London school gets worst Ofsted rating as ‘pupils not prepared for life in modern Britain’
Dad Wesley Dussard agreed. He said: “My daughter goes here. Sometimes she has detention. And I know if they are late a couple of times, they get a two-hour detention on a Friday as punishment. It’s very harsh. I’ve complained to them about it. Sometimes they get a half hour detention and they think of something stupid. They are silly reasons.”
A mum who did not wish to give her name defended the school. She said “Ark Greenwich was really good” and one of the best schools in the area. Facebook also sees frustrated parents taking aim at the school. One person wrote: “To anyone who may have a young one (in their family or beyond) that goes to Ark Greenwich Free School. My nephew seems to be getting detention left right and centre. He isn’t a bad kid, the reasons have been stupid … and many other parents are fed up of it.”
The school’s head teacher Rhys Spiers said: “At Ark Greenwich Free School, we are proud of our high standards for behaviour. As a result of our approach, pupils are safe to express themselves and flourish personally and academically, with GCSE results expected to be amongst the highest in the UK this year.
“Whilst we would not ordinarily comment on specific cases, I can confirm the school takes road safety and punctuality seriously and will not hesitate to take action to ensure our scholars develop good habits and remain safe. We are committed to continuing to support all parents to understand the link between high standards and our behaviour system and welcome all feedback.”