13th June 2022
Parents/carers may be aware of an incident at Freehold tramp stop on 9th June 2022 at the end of the college day. The incident was reported via social media and suggests that students from the college have acted in a manner that is of a criminal nature. I therefore write to update you on what information we have at this point.
Students from Newman College and another school were present at the incident. Freehold tram station is a regular route for a number of our children travelling to and from college. On this occasion, students from at least two schools were present. This would not normally be the case due to a staggered finish between schools; however, due to examinations and a delay in the traditional departure of students, this could not be avoided. This meant that many more young people were present at the tram stop than would normally be.
A member of the public intervened in a situation of anti-social behaviour that escalated dramatically. Those involved in the physical aggression and those filmed being the main cause of alarm were not members of the college. However, I accept that many members of the college were present and reacted to the physical altercation between the member of public and a student from another school. There is much more footage that has been shared by those present that we will be passing to the police. If offers a differing view and context to that which is presented on social media.
Regardless, the safety, conduct and reputation of all at the college was dented due to this incident. As a college, we aspire to do all we can to support students but equally to be a source of pride for our community. On occasions, we fall short of this by the actions of a minority of young people. I accept that we are only as strong as the actions we present and that the ‘standard we walk past is the standard we accept.’ I do not wish for us to walk past this without addressing it. As headteacher, it is disappointing to see that the college has been implicated in this incident, but the majority of accusation is misplaced despite members of our community behaving poorly. This will not deter us in our mission to strive for ‘Dignity and Excellence’, nor will it diminish the overwhelming efforts and conduct of the vast majority of students who proudly exhibit our values. For those actively involved in this incident, I will offer the police my full support in whatever action they deem appropriate and, should it be necessary, will issue a college sanction on the matter. I would respectfully remind parents that the expectations of conduct of our community go far beyond our physical walls, as set out in ‘Behaviour and Discipline in Schools - A guide for headteachers and school staff, which can be found here. Where it is appropriate and right to do so, the college will take action to address the behaviour of individuals who fall short of our standards.
I apologise that this negative message is shared with parents, particularly when the overwhelming majority of students are a credit to us. I hope that it therefore only serves to remind all of our standards and focus some on the risks their conduct poses.
Mr G R Potts MBE DL