'I've never encountered anything like this, ever': Hackney's Northwold Primary School bars two mums from the premises
PUBLISHED: 09:54 24 March 2017 | UPDATED: 10:07 24 March 2017
Two mums banned from their kids' Hackney primary school say they have "never heard anything like it before".
Shanika Small was given a three-month ban from Northwold Primary School in Upper Clapton in October, only for it to be extended by another three months when she tried to hand a letter in her defence at reception.
Then Natalie Semper was told two weeks ago she was no longer allowed to set foot on school grounds for being “volatile” and “aggressive and rude”, which she denies.
Both mums must now drop off and pick up their children at the gates, and have been excluded from parent evenings and assemblies. Ms Small said the move has upset her son, who was “distraught” she could not attend his assembly.
She said: “I feel frustrated and distressed because I’m missing out. I’ve had no involvement with my kids’ education this year apart from homework.”
"You approached a Year 3 boy and began to berate him for hurting your son"
In a letter seen by the Gazette, lawyers for the school told Ms Small she was banned because she had shouted at another child while collecting her son Rashawn. She alleges she saw the boy “strangling” Rashawn, who has cerebral palsy.
“It has been reported that you were volatile in the school playground at home time,” the letter reads. “You approached a Year 3 boy and began to berate him for hurting your son.
“Your tone was threatening and you used language which is never acceptable at school, especially around young, impressionable children.”
It adds: “If parents have concerns they need to follow the correct protocol, which is to refer the matter either to the class teacher or a member of the senior leadership team in an appropriate manner.”
"I saw my son in the arms of another child being strangled"
Ms Small, 25, denies using “coarse language”, and said her instinct was to shout out to protect her son.
“I saw my son in the arms of another child being strangled,” she said. “As I was at a distance I said: ‘Get your hand off my child,’ and raised my voice. I was in disbelief and shock.
“I thought I was confronting a situation that needed to be dealt with. Rashawn’s balance isn’t too great, and at no point should anyone have their arms around his neck and be pulling him backwards.”
Northwold head Alison Kriel said the decision to ban parents from the playground was “not taken lightly”.
But she added: “The school disputes or does not recognise Ms Small’s version of events. The school takes safeguarding extremely seriously.”
Ms Semper, a teaching assistant at a different school, said: “I’ve never encountered anything like this, ever.”
Ms Small requested a meeting with school governors so they could “decide what’s fair”, but they cancelled last week and have not rearranged.