Parents defend headteacher after heatwave walk criticism

St Mary's Church of England Primary School in Brookpit Lane, Clymping. Picture: Google Maps
St Mary's Church of England Primary School in Brookpit Lane, Clymping. Picture: Google Maps

Parents have flocked to the defence of a headteacher who was criticised by one angry mother for organising a walk in the heatwave.

Janet Llewelyn, headteacher of St Mary’s Church of England Primary School, came under fire by one parent for organising a walk back from The Littlehampton Academy to the school in Brookpit Lane, Clymping at around 11.15am yesterday – a 45-minute, 2.5-mile walk.

The mother, who did not wish to be named due to concerns her children might be targeted, claimed it was too hot and too far for them to walk and that she had to take time out of work to transport them.

After the story was published, several angry parents came forward to show their support for Mrs Llewelyn and criticise the parent who contacted the paper.

Lisa Van Alphen, from Elmer, said: “I think it is disgusting that that mum has done what she has done. It is giving the school a bad name.

“Whoever it is should be ashamed of themselves.”

Parents were given the choice to make alternative arrangements if they did not want their children to take part in the walk.

Claire Manwaring from Ford, said her six-year-old son enjoyed it. She added: “I’m a nurse, and I had no worries about my son’s health as they had covered all the bases.

“I can understand why some parents with younger children might have opted out, but the feedback I heard from other parents was that all the children who did walk back were very good and really enjoyed it.

“The kids were given an amazing opportunity to use the facilities at The Littlehampton Academy, and it is sad that someone felt they had to do this in the background. It isn’t community spirited.”

Graham Holden, from Medway Cottages, Bilsham Road, Yapton, said he was ‘disappointed’ to see the article, given the national concerns about childhood obesity and ‘not allowing schools and teachers to do their jobs’. He said: “As a parent of one of the children who did walk, my partner and myself discussed the options and decided that we should give the school and teachers the credit where credit is due; and to trust that they actually know what they are doing with regards to our children who are in their care.”