Highgate schools must control pupils
PUBLISHED: 13:13 29 January 2009 | UPDATED: 15:52 07 September 2010
SCHOOL governors and police have held talks aimed at cracking down on yobbish behaviour in Highgate. Members of the Highgate Safer Neighbourhoods team and Safer Schools officers met leaders of William Ellis and Parliament Hill schools last Wednesday to di
SCHOOL governors and police have held talks aimed at cracking down on yobbish behaviour in Highgate.
Members of the Highgate Safer Neighbourhoods team and Safer Schools officers met leaders of William Ellis and Parliament Hill schools last Wednesday to discuss ongoing concerns over crime and safety.
The meeting came just days after three pupils from William Ellis were arrested for violent disorder and criminal damage after a fight with staff at Tesco in Swain's Lane.
Police put more pressure on bosses of the two Highgate Road schools to ensure staff patrol outside the school gates, something they have resisted in the past.
Sgt Deirdre Matthews said: "At another secondary school the headteacher goes out with the police officer every lunchtime patrolling the estates and that sends a very strong message out, not just to the kids, that they are working very closely together.
"The responsibility of schools extends outside the actual gates. If members of staff are seen walking around with the school's police officers, kids will recognise that close relationship and recognise they will be talking and sharing information."
John Clark, chairman of governors at Parliament Hill Girl's School, insisted the job of teachers was not to patrol the community. He said: "We do have senior staff on the gates but when I talk to the head about this there is a sense that there is only so much space we would cover. Swain's Lane, for instance, we would regard as beyond the limit."
At a meeting last year, neighbours of the Highgate Road schools, which also includes La Sainte Union, which did not have a representative at Wednesday's meeting, came up with a list of complaints. Top of the list was bad behaviour on buses and in shops.
Chairwoman of William Ellis governors Fiona Millar (pictured) believes the new headteacher Robbie Cathcart will ensure many of the issues are overcome.
"The school has had a lot of problems in the past and some of those arose because of the previous leadership," Ms Millar said. "I also think it would be nice to hear something positive about the kids because my experience is that they are pretty good people.