St Bede’s Catholic Comprehensive School, located in Peterlee, is under intense scrutiny by parents, with multiple reports of pupils allegedly being denied basic human needs such as access to toilet facilities.
It is reported that over 100 students have either been suspended, placed in isolation or detention for actions such as walking with their hands in their pockets.
Martin Paincik, 47, from Easington told Sunderland Global Media: “My daughter goes to that school, the children are not given enough time to eat their food and if they are late, they are suspended.
“They are being denied access to toilet facilities during lessons, and they have changed the rules for break-time so that all of the students are on their break at the same time. Meaning the queues are too long for the toilets, and it is causing students to be so desperate that they are having accidents.
“Students that cannot afford items of uniform are being suspended.
“When teachers are approached with concerns of bullying, the children are being told that it is their problem.
“Since last week there have been over 100 students either suspended, put in base, or in detention.
“They are changing rules drastically and not informing parents of these new rules, when they should. They should have a form for us to sign and make us aware.”
Mr Paincik added “how can you expect children to grow when they are treated this way.”
Multiple reports claim St Bede’s has not communicated with parent’s regarding their concerns, despite sending an email to parents on January 30 advising them that they would respond to queries within 48 hours.
Helen Brown, 36, from Durham, who’s son makes two bus journey’s every morning to attend St Bede’s after securing a football scholarship, told Sunderland Global Media “Since Thursday, the school has gone crazy, they have put so many rules in place.
“We live in Durham and it is a trek for my son to get to school every day. The Head-Mistress told my son that his team would be pulled from the semi finals of the elite national cup if a missing shoe was not found, that none of them were aware was missing.
“New rules have been put in place so that you cannot walk around with your hands in your pockets and you cannot wear white socks. Pupils are given a code of conduct if they are wearing a coat, even when it is cold.
Miss Brown added “All of the teachers are wearing coats and walk around with hands in their pockets”
When asked if she had raised any concerns with the school, Miss Brown said “we have had issues with the school since last October, because my son was being bullied by a teacher.
“We took him out of School to protect his mental health, and when the Head Mistress eventually had a meeting with us and moved him away from the teacher, he was a different boy and his grades were back were they should be.
“It is only since Thursday this week, he said to me “I don’t want to go back to that school, it is like a prison.”
Miss Brown added: “The school should be making the kids enjoy it as much as they can, not make them detest it and want to leave.”
A mother from Peterlee, who has requested to remain anonymous, has reported “My daughter is in year seven and is terrified of the new breaktime rules.”
“There are too many pupils squashed into one place. She is small and is scared that she will be trampled by older students.
“They are not allowed to use the toilets during lessons, but there are 700 students all on their break at the same time, it is impossible for them to use the toilet because the queues are so large.
“I seriously regret sending my daughter to that school.”
A mother who also would like to remain anonymous has reported that her child was allegedly called a ‘disgrace’ by a teacher.
“He missed all of his lessons, missed his education and sat for a full day in one room, writing out the code of conduct multiple times.
“Once they were written out, he handed them to the teacher, who then ripped them up in front of him and put them in the bin.
“He was not allowed to go to the toilet, and was told he should have gone in his break.
“My concern is that my child missed out on his education that day.”
She added “A phone call from the school would have been sensible, but there has been no communication from them.”
St Bede’s Catholic Comprehensive School scored ‘good’ in overall effectiveness on their last OFSTED report.
Their last inspection was in 2017.
Sunderland Global Media has reached out to St Bede’s Catholic Comprehensive School, their response is as follows:
“Providing pupils with the very best educational provision is at the heart of what we do, in order to do this we need to work in partnership with parents and families to ensure all children are safe.
“We acknowledge that in the past there has sometimes been delays in responding to parent enquiries. Moving forward we will work to ensure that this is rectified.
“We acknowledge the financial pressures that all families are currently facing and have a pupil support fund to support any parents who are struggling with the cost of uniform and support swap shops where good quality uniform can be exchanged.
“We are aware of comments on social media regarding suspensions from school last week. Over the last few weeks, a small number of pupils have been given numerous warnings regarding significant breaches of existing behaviour expectations and policy.
“Unfortunately the situation had not improved and we were left with no option but to suspend 35 pupils across last week. No child has been suspended for only a uniform breech. This action was not taken lightly, but we need to maintain the highest expectations and standards.
“If you are a parent or carer with a concern we would like you to contact us to speak to us either in school or at Trust level. We will have additional senior staff in school early next week to enable one to one conversations with parents.
“We look forward to continuing to work with pupils and their families to provide a positive and caring experience for your child.
Mrs Cessford, Headteacher, St. Bede Catholic School & Byron Sixth Form“