Page last updated at 13:15 GMT, Monday, 23 November 2009

Expulsion threatened over parking

By Hannah Richardson
BBC News education reporter

Bede Academy wants children to walk to school

A Christian Academy has warned parents that their children could be expelled if they repeatedly break parking rules around the school site.

Bede Primary Academy in Northumberland brought in a "three strikes and you're out" rule as a "last resort" for persistent offenders.

But the move contravenes government guidance on the use of expulsions.

Local councillor Barrie Crowther said: "The sins of the father should not be visited on the child."

The school in Blyth is part of the Emmanuel Schools Foundation which follows a traditional Christian ethos based on the Bible.

'Educated elsewhere'

Part of this is that pupils respect other people and uphold the law, a spokeswoman said.

She said there had been a very long and persistent problem of parents breaching parking rules when they dropped off their children and that they were not setting the right kind of example.

So the school took the step of writing to parents about a week ago to warn them that if they were caught flouting parking rules three times they would then be asked to "have their child educated in another school".

The letter said: "We cannot expect the young people to be responsible, observe the law and be courteous to their neighbours when this is not being demonstrated by their parents."

Bede Academy should withdraw its bullying threat to parents and accept the law of the land
Cllr Crowther

However, Cllr Crowther said he was considering writing to ministers at the Department for Children, Schools and Families about the issue as the move breached its guidance.

He said: "Parents are aghast. The residents might have a problem with parking but you do not need to solve it with such draconian measures."

'Not exempt'

Cllr Crowther added: "Surely the school, which is based on Christian principles, is well aware of what the Bible says in Ezekiel 18.20 i.e. 'The son will not share the guilt of the father, nor will the father share the guilt of the son'.

"This is encapsulated in what is often said and often misquoted, namely, "The sins of the fathers are not visited upon the children". In this case it appears that the sins are visited upon the children.

"Bede Academy should withdraw its bullying threat to parents and accept the law of the land," he said.

A spokesman for the Department for Children, Schools and Families said Cllr Crowther was correct in that schools could not hand out exclusions for parents' misdeeds.

He also added that Academies, although in control of their own admissions, were not exempt from government guidance on such issues.

Academy principal Liz Clubbs said: "In order to reflect the seriousness with which we take this matter, we must have a sanction to use against those who persistently ignore our requests and do not obey enforceable laws.

"Asking a parent to educate their child elsewhere would be used very much as a last resort when all other avenues have failed."

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