Newbury school under fire over claim pupil 'given detention for not having transparent pencil case'

A school in Newbury in Berkshire has been criticised - after claims a pupil was give detention for not having a transparent pencil case.

More than 30 children at Park House secondary school were reportedly put into isolation on one day - just days after starting back at school.

The school was put into special measures by Ofsted in June. Months after the inspection, it was announced Greenshaw Learning Trust would be taking over the school in September.

Annie Speller is one resident who has expressed concerns. She said she became worried when she couldn't get hold of her grandson after school on Friday, September 9. She later discovered that he had been put in detention, which she claims was because he didn't have a see-through pencil case.

"I was sitting in my car waiting for him and all of a sudden all the kids had gone home and I thought where's my grandson? Annie said.

"I phoned my daughter-in-law but she didn't answer. I was sitting there frantic, I thought someone had kidnapped him."

Annie eventually spoke to the headteacher. She said: "I said 'what has he got detention for' and he goes because he didn't have a see-through pencil case and I said 'don't be so stupid'."

West Berkshire Councillor Phillip Barnett said he has heard from a number of parents raising concerns about the new policies. He said: "I'm concerned about a rigid regime which seems to have gone from zero to a very high standard where people are not even given the leeway to rectify their misdemeanours."

Cllr Barnett added that it was upsetting to hear that the children were not given the benefit of the doubt over small discrepancies to do with equipment. To him, these new measures seem "over the top".

Will Smith, CEO of the Greenshaw Learning Trust, said: "Our expectation is that all students present themselves in line with school policies, and Park House School offers support to all parents and students to do this.

"We have experience of successfully transforming schools, and believe the key to success is the creation of a supportive and inclusive learning environment for all our students. If any students or parents have any concerns they should contact the school directly."