School detention text blunder

SCHOOL bosses had red faces today after sending a message to hundreds of parents to say their child was in detention - when it should only have gone to a handful of families.

Richard Cornwell

SCHOOL bosses had red faces today after sending a message to hundreds of parents to say their child was in detention - when it should only have gone to a handful of families.

While parents were quizzing their youngsters about being late for lessons, an apology was hurriedly sent by text to explain the mistake.

It is the third time the Call Parent system at Felixstowe's Orwell High School, which is a specialist technology college, has blundered and caused worries for parents.

Two years ago parents were left frightened after receiving a text to say their children were not at school and then a few months later there was a similar mistake when parents of children on a school trip to Norfolk received messages saying their children were absent after human mistakes in which people were not marked as present properly.

The latest message mistake went out yesterday to families saying their child had missed a ten-minute detention for being late for a lesson and would need to attend another detention on Monday from 3.05pm to 3.30pm as punishment.

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One parent said: “Apparently this message went to loads of families and was only supposed to go to one.

“We heard some people received another text to apologise, but we didn't. We had been quizzing our child about why they had had a detention!

“I expect it caused a few flutters in some households where children might never get detentions.”

The text and phone message message system was brought in four years ago to keep parents more closely informed about their children's movements and is similar to that used by a number of Suffolk schools.

Headteacher Peter Tomkins today apologised to parents for the mistake which was caused by the providers of the system run from Birmingham.

He said: “It was beyond our control unfortunately, but the providers are looking into it to find out what went wrong and we will make sure it does not happen again.”

An apology message asking people to ignore the text was sent out as quickly as possible. About 30 parents had rung in confused in the meantime, worried about what their child had done.

A fresh message would be sent today to those families whose children would be in detention.

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