Headteacher defends morning walk in heatwave

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A headteacher has defended taking pupils on a walk in the middle of the day after a parent complained about the heat.

Janet Llewelyn, headteacher of St Mary’s Church of England Primary School, organised a trip to The Littlehampton Academy for the whole school today so they could see where they will be performing their summer show.

Pupils, who range from four-year-old Reception pupils to Year 6, were dropped there by their parents, and then had to walk back to their school in Brookpit Lane, Clymping at around 11.15am – a 45-minute walk.

Temperatures today ranged from 27 degrees Celsius to a peak of 31 degrees Celsius in the afternoon.

A concerned parent who contacted the Gazette criticised the decision due to the heat and the distance, and claimed the only alternative was picking up their children and looking after them until the walking party arrived back at the school, making them take time out of work.

In response, Mrs Llewelyn said she purposely picked a cooler part of the day to do the walk, and all children who walked were not affected by the heat. She added that parents were given the option of getting other mothers and fathers to pick up their children and look after them, with consent forms being handed out ahead of the walk.

She said: “It is a very small, caring, family-orientated school. Our parents all support each other, we routinely walk up to the church.

“I had to check the weather forecast, I had done my risk assessments, and parents had the option.”

This comes after the Met Office confirmed how long the heatwave would last.