World of Sport

School demands parents get vetted by police to watch kids play

World of Sport

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A school in Swindon has gone to the drastic step of demanding all parents get criminal background checks before they can watch their kids play sport.

The Isambard Community School said they had implemented the measure so that children would be protected from potential paedophiles.

"It is with regret that from now on we will be unable to accommodate parents wishing to spectate at our sports fixtures unless they are in possession of an up-to-date Swindon Council CRB check," a spokesperson for the school said.

"At Isambard we take safeguarding very seriously and because of this we are unable to leave gates open for access to sporting venues at anytime during the school day.

"The current access arrangements are frustrating for both Isambard staff and parents and have recently resulted in reception staff and PE staff being on the receiving end of verbal abuse from parents who have become frustrated trying to get into or out of the school."

Parents must pay £26 to have a criminal record check and one parent, Neil Park, 54, said he was furious after being turned away from his 12-year-old son's rugby match.

"I was turned away from the school because I had not been CRB checked," the father-of-five revealed.

"I couldn't believe it. Government guidelines state that parents are allowed to watch games.

"But any strangers can be questioned and requested to show the appropriate paperwork, which is fair enough.

"George was really upset by it all. What are they going to stop you going to next? Parents' evening? The school play?

"Or what if England under 16s are playing at the County Ground , will they ask all fans there to be CRB checked?"

Another nearby school, Lydiard Park Academy, said they had no plans to implement a similar policy.

"We don't have that policy here because there are always staff supervising the children," said the school's head Clive Zimmerman.

"We think it is important that parents can support their children.

"We had our inaugural hockey game at the Link Centre this week, and half of that stadium was filled with parents which is fantastic."

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