School bans kids from entering food shops on the way home

Staff writer

Police have been called after a school banned pupils from entering food shops on the way home - even placing teachers like ''bouncers'' outside a local chippy.

Children in Cotham area of Bristol have been told they can't go into at least three convenience stores and a takeaway after home time between 2.45pm and 3.15pm.

Staff have even been seen patrolling the parade of stores and standing in high vis jackets outside a chip shop.

The takeaway owner was even forced to call police - claiming teachers went inside and started giving out detentions to children and booting them out.

Shopkeepers say their profits have plummeted with one claiming he's now forced to stay open seven days a week to make up for the shortfall. The school denies staff have entered the shops but have admitted staff ''supervise the parade of shops''.

It says it is using powers given to schools by Michael Gove in 2011 which allows it to rule over the conduct of pupils in certain circumstances outside the school gates.

Neil D'Souza, owner of takeaway Chilli Bellies, says he has seen a massive drop in business since staff from Cotham School started patrolling the streets.

"I said I'd had enough and asked this teacher to leave"

Police were even called by Mr D'Souza last week when staff allegedly blocked the entrance to his shop and stepped in to boot pupils out.

Mr D'Souza said: "They came in the shop and started telling off the children who were in there, handing out detentions, demanding that they leave.

"I'd taken the children's money, their food was almost ready. I said I'd had enough and asked this teacher to leave, to get out of my business, get off my property.

"He argued with me, and then went and stood right on the doorstep. He was physically blocking the entrance.

"They were intimidating the students, and this was intimidating to my normal customers too. He refused to move, that's why I called the police."

Local resident Kate Grant also tried to enter the shop - and also challenged the teachers.

She said: "You've got two senior teachers in high-vis jackets standing outside a shop like bouncers.

"This is after school, with the kids on their way home. Young people have a hard enough time as it is. This is ridiculous."

Bobby Sehdev, the proprietor of Monika's convenience store which is on the same street, also berated the teachers for their policy of stopping students going into his shop.

Cotham School's leaders are adamant the reason for the ban and strict enforcement is for the safety and dispersal of the students. But Mr D'Souza claims he was told different reasons previously.

He said: "When this came in earlier this year, we were told about it, and I went to see the headteacher at the school.

School bans kids from entering food shops on the way home
School bans kids from entering food shops on the way home

"I sat and listened, and she gave me a lecture about how what I was serving people was unhealthy food. To me, it was all about her idea of unhealthy food.

"I feel it's more of a discriminatory thing, to me, and that's inexcusable for me. This is affecting me badly, and I'm very upset about it."

A spokesperson for Cotham School categorically denied any member of staff entered Chilli Bellies. Business manager Allison Crossland added that teachers have the authority over what the pupils do, even after the end of the school day.

A spokesperson for Avon and Somerset police confirmed they were called to reports of antisocial behaviour.

They said: "Police were called just after 3.10pm on Thursday, November 28, by the owner of a takeaway reporting antisocial behaviour at the entrance to his premises in Cotham Road South, which he said was preventing customers from entering.

"Officers attended and spoke to the parties involved. No offences were identified or disclosed."