Ilford family want justice after six-year old jumped on and pinned to ground
PUBLISHED: 17:00 07 August 2019
As a dad viewed the school's CCTV footage he couldn't help let out a tear.
The black and white image in front of himshowed his son being pinned down on the ground and punched and kicked by bullies during the a playtime break.
Not once in the five-minute clip did any staff member, teacher or assistant come over to stop the attack.
And sadly for the six-year-old pupil at Uphall School, it wasn't the last incident he faced over the course of the academic year.
The Year 1 child came home with head injuries, bruises and a missing tooth - yet the school put the accidents down to rough play.
The injury slips were later proved to be incorrectly written by staff who didn't witness the incident after the headteacher conducted an investigation and found the school did have a problem with bullying.
The boy's mum and dad are now speaking out to warn other parents about "brushed over bullying" that went on at the school in Uphall Road, Ilford, and to try and get changes in the culture for both for staff and children.
The father said: "I don't send my son into school looking like that, I don't expect him to come home with bruises.
"If I did drop off my son like that they would have called social services.
"I raised concerns again and again - a group of boys kept targeting my son but the school denied anything was going on.
"But there were no consequences for the boys doing it - they were allowed to get away with it,
"The school were not taking it seriously and we were so concerned as we could see the effect it was having on our son."
He said the boy became noticeably withdrawn and started going off food.
He also developed digestion issues and begged his parents not to send him to school each morning.
In the end, the dad asked his local councillor, Saira Jamil, to visit the school with him and demanded to see CCTV footage of his son in the playground.
"I started crying and the headteacher started crying when we were played the footage," the father said.
"What would have happened if my son had stopped breathing when he was pinned to the ground?
"We saw it happen for a good five to 10 minutes and there were no adults outside.
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"I felt terrible for my son but I was also shocked at the lack of safeguarding for everyone else.
"This school has more than 1,000 pupils, where were the staff? There was a clear lack of supervision.
"No father or mother should ever have to watch this shocking and disturbing CCTV of their child but it proved that my son was telling the truth from the beginning - despite his teachers saying everything was fine."
After watching the footage, the headteacher launched an investigation and reread all the accident slips.
In letters seen by the Recorder, she concluded the boy hurt his front tooth after being "pushed over by a child in his class" and on a separate occasion was pushed to the ground by another Year 1 pupil and was knocked to the floor and jumped on by several other boys.
In minuted meeting notes from the school, she admitted that she is "not impressed at how the incidents had been dealt with by her staff" and has spoken to the team.
She also added that she "cannot have the children in her school being hurt" and is putting an action plan in place.
Whilst happy that the head finally took his concerns seriously, the boy's father claims anti-bullying protocol was not followed and the bullies were still allowed to play with his son and were not made to apologise.
The parents are warning others to be persistent with their children's teachers if they feel something is not right.
"While I am partly happy, I want the teachers and pupils to be accountable," he added.
"I want justice for my son."
The family have now moved the boy to another school and said he is so much happier now.
"He is eating, his grades have gone up, he is like a different boy," the dad said.
"He is simply thriving.
"I wished I had listened to my wife and moved him earlier, but I thought the school would sort it out."
A Redbridge Council spokesman said: "We take accusations of bullying seriously and when the council becomes aware of any concerns with a school, our officers will always investigate.
"Similarly, where a concern is raised through Ofsted, rather than directly to the council, the relevant officers will look into the issue with the school, and where required, provide advice to the school.
"When we investigate an issue raised through Ofsted, this is reported back to them and becomes part of their evidence base for future inspections."