Football banned in Harpenden school playground

PUBLISHED: 18:55 26 March 2009 | UPDATED: 14:03 06 May 2010

Wood End School - health and safety fears brought the ban in the infants are

Wood End School - health and safety fears brought the ban in the infants are

INFANT school pupils have been banned from playing football in their playground for health and safety reasons. The decision to ban footballs from the infants playground at Wood End primary school in Yeomans Avenue, Harpenden, was given to parents in a ne

INFANT school pupils have been banned from playing football in their playground for health and safety reasons.

The decision to ban footballs from the infants' playground at Wood End primary school in Yeomans Avenue, Harpenden, was given to parents in a newsletter.

It read: "Unfortunately, several pupils have been kicked in the face by a football. Therefore, due to health and safety reasons, football will no longer be allowed on the infant playground at break and lunch times due to restricted space."

The decision prompted one parent to hit out at the "namby-pamby" attitude of the school.

The parent, who did not wish to be named, said: "What is the world coming to when children are not allowed to be children? When I was growing up we were allowed to experience a bit of rough and tumble as a normal part of life.

"Now it seems as though all our little darlings have to be wrapped in cottonwool and treated like bone china. How are they ever going to learn to play properly. I think this is a kneejerk overreaction to what happened."

Gareth Huxtable, chair of the school governors, defended the decision taken jointly with newly-appointed school head Diana John.

He said the move was a "commonsense decision" taken after the final straw when a seven-year old girl got hit in the face with a ball. He said it was not a problem in the summer months when the children wanted to play football on the field but they were not allowed to play there when the weather made it soft underfoot.

Mr Huxtable said: "We don't think it's safe for the children during the winter when it's slippery and they get muddy and drag it through the school.

"Unfortunately our infants school playground is not really big enough for 120 children to play boisterous games safely. Our first duty is to keep our pupils safe."

The older children aged between seven and 11 are allowed to play football in their playground which is larger.

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