The mum of a bullied 10-year-old girl has spoken of her disgust after she was forced to pay for a class trip – even though her child left the school five weeks ago.
Kay Kemp, 32, was left with no choice but to take daughter Abbi out of lessons after she was tormented at Fairfield Primary Academy in Stapleford, Notts.
The youngster was pushed, shoved, laughed at and harassed by cruel bullies over the last of 12 months.
Self-employed book-keeper Kay said she pulled Abbi out of the school as a “last resort” after speaking to the headteacher on a number of occasions.
But before she left, the mum-of-two paid £170 towards a class trip to Kingswood residential outdoor activity centre in Kingswood, Staffs.
Kay was left gobsmacked when she asked for a refund only to be told she would still have to pay for the trip – despite Abbi being bullied out of the school weeks earlier.
Single mum Kay, from Stapleford, said: “On and off for the last year or so a group of about five children made a beeline for my daughter for some reason.
“She is quiet and shy in her nature and it got so bad that she no longer wanted to go to school.
“When we picked her up at the end of the day she was sometimes crying because she had been pushed and shoved over. She was shoved into a fence and into a hedge.
“I used to pick her up from school with tears in her eyes and she begged me to move her.
“One child would hound her on the internet and send her lots of messages saying things like ‘wait until you get to school’ and when we blocked her she started constantly calling on Skype then putting the phone down.
“It was one girl in particular, she was the ringleader. She would send her messages saying things like ‘nobody likes you. You’ve got no friends, haha’.”
“I think it’s because she rides horses and has won competitions and these girls are jealous.
“I’ve confronted her parents about it but they didn’t take me seriously.
“We took her out of the school five weeks ago. When I told the headteacher about it a year ago he said he already knew about it.
“She was in tears the whole time and it was heartbreaking to see.
“Before she left I paid for a trip to the Kingswood outdoor activity centre.
“But when I asked for a refund they said I was not eligible even though she was bullied out of the school.
“After arguing they said the best they could do is give me back £17.
“I really feel let down by the school.
“I sent the head a letter telling him my concerns but I didn’t get a reply for five days.
“They haven’t done enough and they left me with no option but to get her out of there.”
Kay said she even witnessed the bullying for herself when she helped out at swimming club.
She added: “At one point Abbi was segregated and put in the Year 3 playground with the little children which wasn’t fair.
“She was picked on for not wearing tights and a group of eight or nine would just stand and laugh at her.
“They were nudging her legs and saying ‘look at her, she’s got no tights on’.
“The school was very aware of what was happening but did little to help. When I told the head I was moving her he was very blasé about it.”
The school was inspected by Ofsted over the summer and was reduced from a “good” rating to “requires improvement” but the behaviour and safety of pupils was deemed to be good.
Headteacher Craig Robertson said: “Over the past several months, we have worked tirelessly with Abbi and her family, the other pupils involved, and teaching and support staff to manage an ongoing situation including offering support and employing various techniques to encourage co-operative play amongst Abbi’s year group.
“In terms of refunding Mrs Kemp the £170 she paid us for the school trip which took place after her daughter moved schools, it is unfortunate that we are unable to do this.
“Private provider Kingswood’s cancellation policy clearly states that only 10 per cent of the cost is refundable if notice of cancellation is received within 14 days of the trip which, regrettably, was the case here.”
Nottinghamshire County Council’s service director for education John Slater added: “We have a dedicated anti-bullying co-ordinator at the council who works with schools to train, support and advise them on their anti-bullying practice and policy.
“In recent years, this has included a big focus on promoting e-safety through the awareness-raising sessions we run in school with staff and parents.”