AN 11-year-old girl was left ‘distraught’ after being forced to scrub the pavement as a punishment at school.

Charmaine Gray was ordered to carry out the work by teachers after being disruptive in lessons.


The Year Six pupil has been taken out of St Peter’s CE Primary School, Darwen, by her mum Johanne Elsworth after the incident.

Headteacher Victoria Weddle and Blackburn with Darwen Council have declined to comment on the matter.

But yesterday parents picking up their children said they were supportive of the school’s stance.

Ms Elsworth is now trying to find a place for her daughter at another school in the town after vowing not to return to St Peter’s.

She said: “She is not an angel by any means and I’m fine with her being punished but not like this.

Lancashire Telegraph:

“This is not appropriate at all and is nothing short of Dickensian.

“It has made me very angry and I just can’t believe that they made her do this.”

According to the Turncroft Road’s behaviour policy, ‘Red Cards’ are given to pupils who continue to be disruptive after a verbal warning and two ‘Yellow Cards’.

If a pupil is given one ‘Red Card’ in a term they miss a day of playtime, with the number of playtimes being missed increasing with each ‘Red Card’ up to five when they are then sent to the headteacher.

No mention of further punishments is made in the document, which is published on the school’s website.

Ms Elsworth, who lives with her three children in Ratcliffe Street, said: “I did not believe her when she first told me.

“I think that she may have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder but her teachers do not think so. She has had behaviour problems before and I have no problem with her being punished by the school when she needs to be.

“But I do not think that children should be punished in this way.”

She has now contacted Blackburn with Darwen Council to see if there are anyplaces at another school in the town for Charmaine.

According to the latest behaviour guidance from the Department for Education, headteachers must decide the standard of behaviour expected of pupils at the school.

They must also determine the school rules and any disciplinary penalties for breaking the rules.

The document also lists the sanctions that schools can hand out if children are disruptive, which includes school-based community service or the imposition of a task such as picking up litter or weeding school grounds.

The tasks also mentioned include tidying a classroom, helping clear up the dining hall after meal times or removing graffiti.

Ms Elsworth added: “I have never heard of a school taking this kind of action against children.

“We are both very upset about it all and I hope that this incident will make the school rethink it’s behaviour policy. I hope it never happens to anyone again.”