POLICE were called after a school banned kids from entering food shops on the way home – even placing teachers as “bouncers” outside a chip shop.
Children from Cotham School in Bristol are barred from entering at least three convenience stores and a takeaway during home time between 2.45pm and 3.15pm.
One takeaway owner called police after claiming teachers in hi-vis jackets went inside and started handing detentions and booting children out.
Neil D’Souza, owner of takeaway Chilli Bellies, says he has seen a massive drop in business since staff started patrolling the streets.
Mr D’Souza said: “They came in the shop and started telling off the children who were in there, handing out detentions, demanding that they leave.
“I’d taken the children’s money, their food was almost ready. I said I’d had enough and asked this teacher to leave.
“He argued with me, and then went and stood right on the doorstep. He was physically blocking the entrance.
“They were intimidating the students, and this was intimidating to my normal customers too. He refused to move, that’s why I called the police.”
The school denies staff have entered shops, but admitted teachers do “supervise the parade of shops”.
Shop owner Jabir Shar, who runs nearby newsagent Tuck News, said the ban on children entering the shop could eventually force him to close the business premises down.
What is the Education Act 2011?
The Education Act 2011 was the first major piece of education legislation to be introduced by the Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition government.
Huge reforms included the power for school staff to discipline students, the manner in which newly trained teachers are supervised and the regulation of qualifications among other legilsation.
In 2011, then Education Secretary Michael Gove said: “Heads are prevented from dealing with their pupils if they run wild in a shopping mall or behave anti-socially.
“We will change the rules to send one clear and consistent message. Heads will have the freedom they need to keep pupils in line, any time, any place, anywhere.
“Under the last government’s approach to discipline, heads and teachers lived in fear of breaking the rules while troublemaking students felt the law was on their side.”
He said: “They are misleading the children and parents. I have had parents come in and ask why their children are not allowed in here, they have been told we don’t want them in.
“We are a business and would like to carry on serving them. This has been going on for more than 20 days and I’m losing hundreds of pounds a day.
“If this continues I’m not sure I’ll be able to remain open. They have a teacher standing outside which makes our other customers suspicious about what’s going on.”
Cotham School business manager Allison Crossland said teachers have the authority over what pupils do – even after the end of the school day.
The school argues it is using powers granted by Michael Gove in 2011 that rule over pupil conduct in certain circumstances outside the school gates.
She said: “We supervise the parade of shops there and all the way from the school to the bottom of Nine Tree Hill, it isn’t just these shops.
“It is only for half an hour from 2.45pm to 3.15pm, and it is done to ensure the safety of children on their way home from school.
“We have 1,600 pupils, and 400 of them come out of school and come this way and head towards Stokes Croft and on into St Paul’s.”
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An Avon and Somerset police spokesman confirmed they were called to reports of antisocial behaviour.
The force said: “Police were called just after 3.10pm on Thursday, November 28, by the owner of a takeaway reporting antisocial behaviour at the entrance to his premises in Cotham Road South, which he said was preventing customers from entering.
“Officers attended and spoke to the parties involved. No offences were identified or disclosed.”