Talks begin with parents at Sheffield’s Hinde House School to defuse community tensions

Hinde House School in Shiregreen, Sheffield.
Hinde House School in Shiregreen, Sheffield.
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In-depth talks are under way between parents, staff, councillors and police in a bid to defuse tensions at a troubled Sheffield school.

Problems erupted at Shiregreen’s Hinde House Secondary after two 14-year-olds were attacked by older boys, who have since been arrested and bailed.

Parents started an online petition which attracted more than 1,600 names, demanding headteacher Chris French tackle issues they claimed had arisen due to pupils arriving from the Roma-Slovak community.

The petition alleged the school had been affected by ‘intimidation, violence and a gang-like culture’.

Five days of talks are now underway with individual parents who have been at the centre of the problems.

Only those with appointments have been allowed into the discussions - police have turned away others trying to attend.

Lorraine Larkings, whose 14-year-old son Rhys was one of the pupils who was attacked, said the format had not been what parents had been hoping for.

“The process is time-consuming, will last over a week and I suppose the intention is to cool the situation down,” she said.

“We were given 10-minute slots with the various people present but there were so many questions to ask they overran and so I never got to talk to Mr French.”

Mrs Larkings said she had talked to Rhys’ form tutor and to city councillors and police representatives.

Meetings were taking place with parents from each year group on successive evenings.

“It’s not what we wanted and once this is completed we will be pressing for a full meeting where we will be expecting some answers,” she said.

“We heard that work is underway with the Roma families to help them integrate in school more effectively - but so far I can’t say I have been reassured by what I’ve heard.”

The school says it will be holding ‘information and listening sessions’ over the coming days and weeks.

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