Meeting over fight at Sheffield school is cancelled

Police at Fir Vale School in Sheffield. Picture: Dean Atkins
Police at Fir Vale School in Sheffield. Picture: Dean Atkins

A public meeting called at a Sheffield school to discuss a so-called ‘riot’ which broke out after children began brawling has been cancelled.

Crowds of parents and people living nearby gathered outside Fir Vale School last Tuesday afternoon following reports from children inside of fighting in the dining hall.

People gathered outside Fir Vale School after the disturbance.

People gathered outside Fir Vale School after the disturbance.

Video footage circulating on social media showed scenes of violence. Relatives of pupils tried to scale the school’s perimeter fence to get inside but were held back by police officers called to deal with the disturbance and to restore calm.

Unconfirmed rumours of weapons having been seen added to the heightened atmosphere, and police dogs had to be deployed.

One pupil and a member of staff were injured and lessons were forced to end early.

In a letter to parents on Wednesday, headteacher Simon Hawkins said an ‘open meeting’ was to be held at the school on Monday, October 1, for ‘a wide range of stakeholders’ to discuss how to move forward. He said the meeting would be an opportunity to discuss ‘wider issues’ and ‘solutions to community cohesion’.

Fir Vale School headteacher Simon Hawkins. Picture: Chris Etchells

Fir Vale School headteacher Simon Hawkins. Picture: Chris Etchells

But now the talks have been cancelled, to be replaced by individual meetings with parents. A further letter issued by the school yesterday said: “We believe the best way forward is to create a number of opportunities for parents and carers to come into school to raise any concerns. That means we will not meet on Monday.”

The letter – which merely referred to ‘the incident’ – was signed by Mr Hawkins along with chair of governors Usma Saeed and representatives from the police, council and schools improvement body Learn Sheffield. All parties had been consulted before the decision to cancel was made, the document said.

Special assemblies attended by police were organised for all pupils on Wednesday, and students were allowed to start at 11am on Thursday and Friday.

“We will return to normal school times on Monday and look forward to welcoming back all of our pupils,” yesterday’s letter said. “We recognise some pupils and staff might value additional support and counselling and we are working with the local authority to ensure this is in place.”

A police presence is to be kept up at the school 'as a visible reassurance’.