Charlie Jenkins, 10, left to make his own way home from Orchard Vale School
By North Devon Journal | Thursday, November 15, 2012, 07:33
A TEN-year-old boy was left to walk home at night without an adult after being refused entry to his school's Hallowe'en disco.
ANGRY: Kelly Jenkins with her son Charlie, 10, who was turned away from his school disco. Picture: Rob Tibbles. Ref: BNRT20121108E-001_C
Charlie Jenkins, a pupil at Orchard Vale Primary School in Barnstaple, and a friend had to make their own way home after staff at the school told them they weren't welcome at the disco because of an earlier incident.
Charlie's mother Kelly Jenkins conceded her son hadn't had to walk far to get home, since the family live just a few hundred yards from the school, but his friend had to walk a far greater distance to get home.
The pair were barred from going into the October 19 disco after they climbed on to the roof of the school to retrieve a tennis ball.
They were sent home but Kelly said she had not been told not to send the boys to the disco which was held later that day.
She said: "If they had told me Charlie wouldn't be welcome at the disco I wouldn't have sent him back.
"I watched him cross the road and saw him join the queue to get into the disco. At that point I thought he was in the care of the school and was safe."
When Charlie was refused entry he was scared he'd get into trouble with his mum and it was half an hour before he arrived home, at 9.10pm.
Kelly, who said she has never had any issues with the school before, was upset her son was turned away and expected to make his own way home.
She said: "At no point did the school ring me to tell me. If they had I could have gone and picked them both up."
Orchard Vale's head teacher Jan Baker said: "Since the disco school staff have offered Mrs Jenkins several opportunities to meet with me to resolve and discuss the concerns raised. So far this offer has not been taken up."
She said the school has a policy in place which makes sure it is always willing to listen to parents in order to improve its work.
She said: "On this occasion the child was reported by a parent and other children to be running and playing on the roof and knocking on windows prior to the disco.
"He was asked to leave the site, return home and not to come back that evening, which he did.
"The school's responsibility for the welfare of children at a disco begins and ends at the main entrance door. The expectation of parents is to deliver and collect them to and from this point.
"If this had been the case in this incident, communication would have been swift and clear regarding the earlier behaviour, and decisions made when the child returned to the disco."