Parent accuses King Solomon of failing ‘bullied’ daughter

By Dana Gloger, April 3, 2008
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The mother of a teenage girl who claims to have been punched in the face at school has accused King Solomon High School of not tackling bullying.

Amanda Swords of Barkingside said her daughter, Chloe, 14, was being bullied by a girl two years older than her but claimed the school did little to deal with the situation.

Mrs Swords said that her daughter told teachers, as well as headteacher Spencer Lewis, after she was punched two weeks ago — but that the bullying continued.

“Mr Lewis spoke to her and told her not to walk around the school on her own,” Mrs Swords claimed.

She also alleged that when she and her husband tried to speak to Mr Lewis he told them he did not want to speak about the matter.

“He has been very rude, and eventually told us to come for a meeting on Tuesday morning, but when we turned up he wasn’t there and did not send any apologies,” Mrs Swords said.

Chloe is now too scared to return to school, so has been staying at home. “It’s a big year for her, as she has her Sats and then has to choose her GCSE options. But she is very frightened,” said Mrs Swords.

She added that she believed there had also been other incidents of serious bullying at the school. She claimed that last year, a boy aged 13 was kicked by a group of boys, who filmed the incident and posted it on the video-sharing website YouTube.

Headteacher Mr Lewis would not comment on these allegations or those concerning Chloe.

He said: “Having spoken to the chair of governors we do not feel it appropriate to comment on individual private cases outside school in a public forum. King Solomon takes bullying very seriously and is proud that Ofsted recently reported that students at King Solomon High School feel safe and are well cared for.”

Separately, Mrs Swords also accused the school of not providing her son, who has special educational needs, with the help to which he is entitled.

Mitchell, 12, has a statement of special needs which indicates that the school should provide him with extra assistance in 16 lessons a week. His mother said he only receives extra help in one lesson a week.

Mr Lewis said: “We take our responsibilities in special needs education (SEN) equally seriously and provide a good education for all students with SEN with a variety of support, matching provision to needs as described on their statements of need. It would be inappropriate for me to discuss the particulars of an individual case in a public forum.”

Mitchell has now been withdrawn from school, and Mrs Swords has applied for places for both children at another school. “I really want the children to have a Jewish education, so it would be a shame if they don’t get that,” Mrs Swords said.

    Last updated: 10:29am, April 3 2008