Camden schools warn pupils not to take part in today’s protest

CAMDEN schools have clamped down on pupils and ordered them not to take part in today’s student protest.

Thousands of young people have braved the freezing weather to join in a third demonstration against the government’s plans to increase tuition fees to �9,000 a year. The protesters have gathered in Trafalgar Square and Whitehall.

But Camden headteachers have warned pupils that if they take part, their absence will be marked as unauthorised.

Jill Hislop, headteacher at William Ellis School said: “Students have gone to join the protest if parents have agreed and have informed the school. The absence will be unauthorised.

“It is not that we do not appreciate how important this funding situation may be in the future for our students, but we feel it is essential that they do not jeopardise their grades through continuing days out of school.”

At Haverstock School the headteacher John Dowd told pupils that they could not take part because of the weather.

“I do understand their predicament and why they want to take part but I won’t let them out today because of the bad weather,” he told the Ham&High.

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“It’s my job to make sure they’re safe in school hours and there’s a health and safety issue with the freezing weather.”

The two previous demonstrations have ended in violence and public disorder. Initial reports suggest that those taking part in today’s demonstration are darting through side streets to avoid being “kettled” by the police.

Commander Bob Broadhurst, head of the Metropolitan Police Service Public Order Branch, urged protesters not to resort to violence at today’s demonstation.

He said: “The Met will always respect the right to protest peacefully, but I would urge all those considering taking to the streets of London again this week to think carefully about the consequences of engaging in violence and disorder.

“This behaviour doesn’t help anybody, least of all those who have a genuine and peaceful point to make.”