My bike is banned from the school ground by headteacher - I am the only cyclist from 270 parents

My 5 year old daughter is  at Ardleigh Green Infant School- Gidea Park, Romford. Since she started school a year and a half ago I cycle with her daily (she is not a confident rider yet so she has a bike seat on my bike) . At the school gate I get off the bike, and push it into the school ground- walking - approx 15 meters from the gate I stop. There is a metal fence where I can lean my bike against so I can take my daughter out of her seat safely. there are 270 mums on school run in the infant school- none of the other parents are cycling, most of them driving their large 4x4s blocking sidewalks, pavements,parking absolutely everywhere.  However today Mrs Morris the head teacher rang me straight after I have returned home from the school run : saying that I AM A HEALTH AND SAFETY HAZARD and she is no longer letting me to bring the bike into the school ground. According to her I am a hazard risk for potential injuries. (I do not ride on the school grounds!!!) I have pointed out that many mums bring prams, pushchairs, double buggies which take more space- people bring dogs in in their arms/ in handbags that is fine- me taking my daughter to school is not fine...? I see myself as a positive role model cycling to school every day. There is a small area for kids to lock their scooter in (tiny area full with little scooters and kids- not suitable for me to charge in with my bike)- but not a single designated area for bikes or a bike park anywhere you could leave your bike. I stand next to the bike when Olivia goes in with her teacher- none ever complained about me being in the way. I feel TOTALLY DISCRIMINATED-I do not understand her issue-the head sees herself as in total charge and she decided that from today these are HER NEW RULES- I AM BANNED TO ENTER WITH MY BIKE. I really need some advise her as I want to make sure that this doesn't happen anywhere else and i want to make an official complaint- just dont know how/ hwho am I supposed to talk about this issue- can she really ban my bike from the school ground?

Replies

Hi. That sounds unfair & you seem angry Maybe you could email the head to politely request a short meeting to discus it. You could gather your thoughts as well as opinion from other parents (or a parent governor if you know one) Perhaps you could ask her to clarify the schools position / policy on your bike being in the playground and listen to what she has to say If you think her reasons for banning your bike are valid, fine. If not maybe you could discuss it further with her and if you don't agree you could take it up with the board of governors or if it's a council run school, with the local education department Good luck

Contact the board of governers, and then the local press if nothing changes.

  • By Spoquey at 8:32pm 7 November 2013
I am really sorry to hear about this. Your borough is very much involved in encouraging children to cycle to school, so don't lose heart! Why not get in touch with local schools that ARE welcoming cycling to school for some advice and tips on how to get this school involved? There are quite a few in your borough. Sustrans, LCC or TfL may be able to tell you which schools welcome cycling and have cycle training and other benefits for their pupils. I bet that there are loads of parents outside your school gates that are really jealous of the way you bring your child to school, and would support you and would love to try out healthy ways of taking their own children to school. So many people are looking for healthy lifestyle but don't know how to include it in their busy lives. Good luck!

Hi! All is not lost.

The trick here is to be the most reasonable, logical and polite person on the planet.

1) Request a meeting with the Head to discuss the matter face to face.

2) Ask the Head to detail why she feels that you wheeling your bike is an unacceptable to the Health and Safety of her charges. This is very important; don't interupt but pay close attention to what she says (You may get some more ammunition).

3) Ask her how many children have been injured by your actions.

4) When she says none then go "Ah! So this is a theoretical Health and Safety risk then?"

Now you can go for the throat! But remain the most reasonable, logical and polite person on the planet.

1) More people are killed or injured by traffic than are killed or injured by traffic accidents. Fact!

2) Ask her how she intends to protect your, and everyone else's, child from this proven risk to Health and Safety. After all doesn't she have a duty of care? Wide eyes and a soft voice are good here.

It's dirty and it's underhand but you don't half feel good. I have used this technique to reduce managers, bosses, bureaucrats, H&S bods, petty officials and policemen to tears of impotent rage over the years.

You probably still won't be able to wheel your bike on school property but you will have had a lot of fun!

This post was edited by Levermonkey at 4:47pm 10 November 2013.

Hi

With you loads on this.

"but not a single designated area for bikes or a bike park anywhere you could leave your bike. I stand next to the bike when Olivia goes in with her teacher".

It sounds to me that the biggest issue is that there is no bike stands. Be reasonable and listen to her concerns about the perceived risks, and then she should listen to yours.

You would suggest that the simplest way to resolve all of this is for the school to have bike stands either on the premises (preferable) or outside the school on the pavement. She would understand that she would not want to leave her bike unlocked outside the school, so why should you?

She could bend the ear of the council by pointing out that having bike stands would potentially mean more staff, parents and kids to cycling to school than presently do. The council would definitely back that - surely?

 

  • By Alison at 5:38pm 14 November 2013

This is a common reaction. I tried to get cycle racks installed for students at a north London comprehensive and was told we can't encourage students to cycle to school or we'll be held responsible if anything happens to them on the road. I've checked this out and it's complete rubbish but this is the kind of attitude that prevails from those who are locked into driving and totally against changing the status quo - which is that the car rules and yes 4x4s are supreme and b*****

anyone who dares to cycle.

Contact your local council's road safety people and ask for advice.

  • By evansdch at 12:30pm 19 November 2013

 

I have to say this kind of thing makes me very angry. Please stick to your guns and insist on being allowed to take your bike into the school grounds. Teachers should be aware of the many benefits of encouraging cycling and the problems associated with car use.

At my children's primary school, in Westminster, the school encourages riding but doesn't offer any tuition until Year 5, and then only for those pupils/parents who voluneteer.

It would be good if they offered both pupils and parents tuition earlier and perhaps also interest free loans to buy those Dutch cargo bikes in which you can take children to school.

 

 

@yogactive74. Is it worth starting a petition?

I think a headmistress/master would have difficulty sticking to their guns even if there were just a few signatures.

  • By mitsky at 6:29pm 19 November 2013

Its a shame about your situation.

Just found this online.

http://www.sustrans.org.uk/blog/instructional-and-inspirational-video-ethan-riding-school

  • By Shannon at 8:41pm 19 November 2013

I agree that it would be worthwhile to lobby for bike stands in schools. This will take time. If you want to continue to ride to school, it would be pragmatic to get a good lock and secure your bikes a short distance from the school. Concider using a spot that wont antagonise folk with pushchairs and take some soundings from other parants. You may be pleasantly supprised how many share your point of view.

ignore the teacher!!

  • By Dagda at 2:30pm 12 December 2013

Strange how no-one questoins why so many children these days are driven to school. The school my daughters attend has a catchment of approximately 2 square miles, but at school opening and closing times the road outside is choc-a-bloc with illegally parked cars (to the extent that the Head had to beg the council to patrol the road at school out time). How much nicer would it be for everyone if a percentage of these people walked or cycled the relatively short distance? 

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