The governing body of the Oak Tree Academy (Oak Tree), in Stockton, is set to introduce new measures to ensure pupil safety meets the safeguarding standards expected to protect the academy’s pupils from risk of harm.
A new security system is to be installed at Oak Tree during the half term break to address the current issue of the public using the academy grounds as a short cut. Currently, there is open access to a grassed area in front of the school building which is used by the local community, including dog walkers and cyclists and even motor bikes.
From Sunday 20th February the school site will be locked overnight from 5.30pm until 7.30am and then again from 9.00am until 3.30pm during the school day. An intercom system will be linked to the school’s reception to allow visitors into the grounds. Alternative arrangements for parents with children in nursery classes who need to come onto the school site at different times are also being made.
Chair of Governors at the academy, Lynda Brown said:
“The Oak Tree governing body asked the Executive Principal to carry out a review of safety for pupils and the open access to the academy’s grounds during the day has been identified as a serious weakness.
“By introducing these measures we can ensure that our children are safe and secure whilst at school. In addition, it will also allow us to utilise an extensive area of the school grounds that have, until now, been out of bounds during the school day. This area will provide additional facilities for outdoor activities and benefit the development and safe learning experience of all the children at Oak Tree.”
Ian Kershaw, Chief Executive Chair of the Northern Education Trust, which sponsors Oak Tree Academy, added:
“As a Trust it is very important that we support all our academies to meet the high standards of safety rightly expected by Ofsted and by parents. We have therefore agreed with governors that this move is essential to ensure the safety of pupils who attend Oak Tree Academy.
“We are constantly supporting our academies to ensure these high standards of safeguarding continue to be met and ensuring that all children are safe whilst under our care.”
Meetings have been held with parents of Oak Tree primary and nursery pupils, who showed support of the upcoming changes.
Phil Steel who currently has two children at the school said:
“It is very reassuring to see that the school is so involved in taking active steps to make sure our children are as safe as possible whilst at school. As a parent, I fully support these changes and it is great to know my children’s safety is being taken seriously. “