Senior pupils have been banned from carrying school bags over concerns they pose a Health and Safety risk.

Spalding Grammar School has banned sixth formers from carrying bags between lessons. The school say the decision was made to prevent injury to younger pupils. They believe there was an increasing risk of injury because of ‘ever-larger bags’ being carried.

The school’s rule states “Bags of any size may be used to bring books and kit to and from school but bags are not permitted in lessons during the day”. Pupils are encouraged to carry books by hand for a maximum of two lessons at a time. The ban has seen many transferring their books into plastic carrier bags.

Creative Substitutes

In disagreement, sixth former Jacob Ford gave the headteacher a 3,000-word paper titled ‘Bags in Sixth Form: My Thoughts and A Potential Solution’.

The schoolboy accepts pupils may be struck or knocked by bags swinging around in corridors, but questions whether the best solution was to outright ban backpacks. As he asks, surely a compromise can be made?

In ‘silent protest’, Jacob went on to carry his books between lessons in alternate ways including a wicker basket, saucepan, sandwich bag, part of a lawnmower and microwave!

Inappropriate

Head Steven Wilkinson has responded by stating ‘The facts that have been presented are far from the full picture. We have a student who has behaved in an increasingly inappropriate way – actions the likes of which I have never witnessed and who has been sanctioned entirely in line with the school’s policies’.

Mr Wilkinson adds ‘What disappoints me most is the fact that rather than working with us the parent concerned has encouraged and is now seeking to glorify her son’s behaviour’.

"I can't help feeling that some grown up dialogue...would have been a sensible way forward"
Nick Wilson, Director of Health & Safety Services, Ellis Whittam

Social Media

The ban has been heavily criticised on social media with some saying a bit of common sense would be a breath of fresh air at the school!

Others sarcastically comment they wished heavy school bags had been a major health and safety concern in their schooldays – and not the drugs, violence, bullying and/or offensive weapons!  

Jacob Rees-Mogg MP has purportedly asked, “why not instead use a briefcase that is carried by your side?”

Comment

Nick Wilson, Director of Health & Safety Services at Ellis Whittam states “No doubt opinions will be divided on whether this is yet another example of H&S gone mad or sensible risk management.  I can’t help feeling that some grown up dialogue with those who stood to be affected would have been a sensible way forward and prevented this fall out!”

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