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Should pupils spend lunchtimes in the rain? Piper’s Vale Primary Academy ‘disgusts’ parents with ‘wet play’ policy

PUBLISHED: 19:46 09 November 2017 | UPDATED: 19:59 09 November 2017

Piper's Vale Primary Academy in Ipswich. Picture: ARCHANT

Piper's Vale Primary Academy in Ipswich. Picture: ARCHANT

Angry parents are “disgusted” after children were allegedly forced to stay outside in the lunchtime rain at an Ipswich primary school.

One mother claimed her children came home from Piper’s Vale Primary Academy “absolutely drenched” and had to dry a pair of shoes on a radiator overnight. Her children were “locked” outside yesterday lunchtime, she said – a claim denied by the school.

Ben Carter, acting head, has apologised to parents over how the academy’s new ‘wet play’ lunchtime and playtime policy was communicated.

The 381-pupil school in Raeburn Road joined the London-based Paradigm Trust in September. The academy trust also runs Murrayfield Primary Academy and Ipswich Academy.

A letter sent to parents yesterday by Mr Carter said: “Firstly can I apologise for the fact that the change in policy was not communicated to you before. Previously in wet weather the school supervised play inside the school building in almost all adverse weather conditions.

“Paradigm believes that ‘wet play’ is good for pupils and we will encourage it except in very bad weather. The decision for a ‘wet play’ will be made by the leadership team member operationally in charge of the school on the day. During the following winter months please ensure your child comes to school with suitable footwear and a winter coat or jacket.”

Mum-of-five Annemarie Fletcher, of Shannon Road, said: “It’s disgusting. They were made to stay outside in the pouring rain. I wouldn’t have put my dog out there. They were wet and cold all afternoon - absolutely drenched. For my youngest daughter, we had to put her shoes on the radiator all night to get them dry. My house was like a sauna, and that’ll put up heating bills. It should be like a pre-school and have free-flow. It was great before; they would play board games or watch DVDs. Now they say it comes down to whoever is in charge that day. But opinions will be different.”

ICT and art lunchtime clubs are held at the school, while there are shelter areas outside.

Mum-of-two Frances Horlock added: “Apparently they locked the doors so pupils couldn’t get in. That’s why I’m mad. They should be allowed to decide themselves.”

Mr Carter said it was “definitely not true” that children were not allowed back inside.

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