A PUPIL was left in tears and her dad fuming by her school’s last-minute withdrawal from an athletics final.
Children from Golcar Junior Infant and Nursery (JIN) School were due to compete in the Pennine Sports Partnership Sports Hall Athletics final, at The Barn, Leeds Road, on February 5.
But an hour before the competition, 25 pupils discovered the school had withdrawn because of poor weather – despite offers from the event organisers, Pennine School Sports Partnership, to delay the games until the school arrived.
The school said a minibus it was borrowing from Colne Valley High School had been unable to reach the school because of snow.
And offers from parents to ferry the young athletes to the indoor event were refused by the school because of ‘safety’ issues
Six out of eight schools attended the final with Chickenley JIN School also withdrawing.
Golcar JIN, however, attended the semi-final at The Barn on January 18 despite poor weather.
Parent and former school governor Mark Evans, who offered to drive pupils to Leeds Road, said he and his 10-year-old daughter Sophie were left waiting in the school reception only to find the minibus wasn’t coming.
Mr Evans, 42, said: “What’s really frustrated me is there was no contingency plan. This is Colne Valley and we have snow.
“Sophie was distraught. She had been practising extra for it and she was in tears.
“If she’d done well she could have taken part in the county competition.
“Parents were willing to help out but the school didn’t even try.
“There was a lot of confusion in the reception with children milling around. No-one was telling the children or the parents anything.
“I spoke to some other parents and they were disgusted.
“The school can hide behind ‘safeguarding’ but where is their planning? They have a duty to the children.”
But Golcar JIN headteacher Karen Taylor said: “It was only with reluctance that we withdrew from the event, but circumstances gave us no other choice.
“Just 40 minutes before we planned to leave, we were told that our transport was no longer available due to the severe weather causing widespread disruption.
“It wasn’t possible for the pupils to travel in parents’ cars at such short notice because all adults who are responsible for supervising children must have a CRB check in advance.
“We had to take the decision for practical reasons and because the children’s safety and wellbeing are our top priorities.
“Parents and pupils were informed as soon as possible and they were entirely supportive.
“Only one parent has raised an issue. The remainder agreed that we made the correct, commonsense decision in the children’s best interests”.