Primary school forced to close after receiving 'threats to staff'

Primary school is forced to close after receiving ‘threats to staff’ as parents stage protest over schoolboy, eight, reprimanded for wearing Palestine badge on his coat

  • Barclay Primary School said ‘misinformation’ was being used to target teacher

A school in east London has been forced to close after receiving ‘threats to staff on social media.

Barclay Primary School became embroiled in a row over allegations on a Tiktok video that a boy was bullied ‘for being Palestinian’.

Parents staged a protest outside the school on Thursday morning amid concerns that children were ‘not allowed to show any signs of solidarity with people from Palestine.

The dispute was sparked after students turned up on Mufti Day to raise money for Children In Need wearing the red, green, white and black colours of the Palestinian flag.

One eight-year-old boy has not been allowed to attend school since November 23 for refusing to remove a Palestinian flag sewn into his coat, parents claim.

Parents have staged a protest amid a row over students wearing Palestinian symbols at an east London school

Barclay Primary School has been forced to break early for the holidays due to ‘threats to staff’

Video footage showed parents gathering outside the school with pro-Palestinian flags and placards, and chanting ‘Education is under attack’

Pictured: A parent holds a placard supporting the student who has not been allowed to attend school since November 23

One father at the protest on Thursday told Sky News: ‘The school had a massive Ukrainian flag outside and promoted the fact that they were supporting Ukraine.

‘We had a situation today where Israel is attacking Gaza.

‘Why is it that they are not allowing an eight-year-old child to wear the badge of his homeland, of his heritage?’

In a statement on December 20, the school said it would not enter into any further discussions due to the ‘threatening and completely unacceptable conduct being demonstrated’.

It also denied the alleged mistreatment of the eight-year-old child wearing the Palestinian colours and added that ‘misinformation’ was being used to target the academy school.

Video footage showed parents gathering outside the school grounds with pro-Palestinian placards and banners, chanting ‘Education is under attack’.

A statement from the Lion Academy Trust said: ‘All parents – from all the communities we serve – have been the happy recipients of how the school’s policies and practices have been operating – and the overwhelming majority of families and pupils who have welcomed their time at Barclay Primary are now being directly impacted by the actions of a misdirected and misinformed few, seeking to disrupt a primary school from exercising its proper function to educate children.

‘We will never tolerate bullying or intimidation from any source – and have the full support of the Department for Education, Ofsted and the police in this matter. We will take any and all necessary steps to protect our pupils, staff and values. 

‘The school is required to follow advice and instructions from the Department of Education which was directly sent to all schools in October 2023. 

‘We are trying to implement the advice reasonably and proportionately. This is of course subjective and we accept that individuals will have differing opinions. It has reached the stage however that if individuals object to the guidance issued, then this needs to be raised directly with the Department for Education.’

The dispute between teachers and parents escalated further after a letter was sent out to parents last month ‘threatened’ to refer them to the anti-terror programme Prevent.

One parent at the protest criticised the school for not allowing a student ‘to wear the badge of his homeland’

The dispute  escalated further when eight parents were sent a letter that allegedly ‘threatened’ to report them to Prevent 

The letter, which the school said was sent to ‘eight families’ on November 17, warned parents that their children’s attire could be deemed ‘offensive’ to other students and was a breach of the academy’s code of conduct.

It warned: ‘Inappropriate comments made at school or demonstrated at school including extremist or divisive comments can and will lead to formal meetings with the school, referrals to the PREVENT Team or the Hate Crime Team in Waltham Forest.’

Barclay Primary said that the correspondence had been ‘deliberately taken out of context’.

It said: ‘The letter was specific to alleged misconduct by the parties to whom it was sent. 

‘Further, we are bound by our legal duty under Prevent and whilst we have never reported anyone to Prevent at the school, and would not wish to do so, we are seeking to be transparent by making individuals aware of the school’s legal obligations. 

‘We believe we are acting firmly on the basis of the range of evidence at hand and to suggest otherwise is a distortion of the facts.’

A spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police said: Officers were informed of a protest at a school on Canterbury Road,E10.

‘At about 08:30hrs on Thursday, 21 December Officers attended. The road was closed at around 08:30hrs and reopened at around 10:20hrs

‘The protest was peacefully concluded.’

Barclay School Primary School has said it is not making further comment when approached by MailOnline.  

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