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Parents claim Hackney school is so crowded tag is banned in playground - but it may take on more pupils

PUBLISHED: 12:14 31 March 2013 | UPDATED: 12:14 31 March 2013

Parents claim Queensbridge School is so crowded that tag has been banned from the playground - but it may take on even more pupils.

Governors at Queensbridge Primary School are considering a “bulge” reception class – 30 extra pupils – for the second year running, even though parents say the head promised this year’s extra group would be a one-off.

And furious parents claim numbers of children at the Haggerston school, in Queensbridge Road, means their children are not allowed to play games like tag – although the school says it is banned for other reasons.

Worried parent Lionel Hives said: “It’s a game that’s played in playgrounds up and down the country.

“We should be encouraging exercise and not curtailing it – all the evidence suggests exercise in the playground is an important part of children’s ability to focus on school work for the rest of the day.

“The legal capacity of the school is 420 and, due to a one-form entry in the top half of the school, problems will set in once the capacity is reached in 2014 and then breached from 2015 to 2020.”

Mr Hives and other parents have written to MP Meg Hillier expressing concern that their children are bearing the brunt of the Learning Trust’s failure to plan ahead for the shortage of school places in London, which was predicted in a report in 2009.

They are also worried about the school’s ability to meet the additional demands of breakfast and after-school clubs, activities, fairs and school meals.

Stealth

“This feels effectively like three-form entry by stealth, without the necessary consultations,” said another parent Grace Banks.

Headteacher Sarah Bailey confirmed tag had been banned, but said the reason was that older children were playing too roughly.

Ms Bailey also believes the school has the capacity to house a third form this year, because some higher years only have one class.

She said: “The governing body have this request, I’m happy to do it and I think they are.

“Lots of positives came out of the extra class this year and in hindsight we did it and we did it really well. It’s a credit to my staff team. It’s not about getting it in through the back door.”

Cllr Rita Krishna, cabinet member for education and children’s services, said the council was not currently considering a permanent expansion at the school.

She added: “If this changes in the future there would be a full consultation with parents and the community.”

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