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Headteacher lashes vandals

PUBLISHED: 22:31 25 September 2001 | UPDATED: 10:34 03 March 2010

THE head teacher of a Suffolk primary school has written a stinging letter to parents after a spate of vandalism.

Nicola Sirett, head of Capel St Mary CE Primary, is asking if they know where their teenage children are in the evenings following a wave of petty crime at the school.

THE head teacher of a Suffolk primary school has written a stinging letter to parents after a spate of vandalism.

Nicola Sirett, head of Capel St Mary CE Primary, is asking if they know where their teenage children are in the evenings following a wave of petty crime at the school.

Miss Sirett penned the note after staff were left struggling to cope with a "sorry catalogue" of vandalism, which has included branches being broken off trees, picnic tables overturned and graffiti written on them, and a small fire being lit close to the school.

"A lot of it is on a low level, it's more a nuisance and irritating but the cost is starting to mount up," Miss Sirett said.

"We work very hard to make the school a pleasant environment for the children but it seems to staff that other people can't respect that and we constantly have to work to make minor repairs and tidy up."

The problem, which Miss Sirett lays at the door of unruly teenagers in the village possibly with younger siblings at the school, has been exacerbated recently by building work on the school grounds which has attracted youths to the area in the early evenings.

Now the school, which does not have a perimeter fence, has been forced to step up security. A new back gate will be installed next month, which Miss Sirett is considering keeping locked at nights forcing people to use the front entrance, and plans to improve exterior lighting are also under discussion.

"The site is very open and we want to be a welcoming and open school," she said adding that she was aware that tightening up on security might effect those using the building and grounds out of school hours.

"The whole village seems to use (the playground) as a cut through from the main road. We don't have a problem with people walking through but the people who come into the site and mess around, that's a problem."

She was also anxious to leave the school building accessible to community groups from Brownies to the youth club who use it in the evenings.

"It's not children at the school causing the problems, it's older children but obviously some of them will have brothers and sisters at the school.

"I feel that parents of those children really ought to know where they are in the evenings."

Miss Sirett, whose letter warned that people who come on to the school premises are effectively trespassing, said that she had received support from parents since the letter was distributed.

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