SENT FROM: GARETH DRAWMER, HEAD OF ACHIEVEMENT & LEARNING
We have been notified this week of a protest outside of a Buckinghamshire school by anti-vaccination protestors.
Protests such as these are be based on an assumption that Covid vaccinations for school age children will be rolled out through schools, rather than the existing vaccination centres, even though this has not been confirmed. The current situation is that Covid vaccinations have not been approved for under 16s and that confirmation of any vaccination programme is awaited from the government. As secondary schools are aware, there is contingency planning being carried out for delivery of vaccinations, should there be an ask from central government to deliver it, but this has not yet been confirmed.
In terms of the actions which a school can take, if the protesters are on public land, then they have the right of peaceful protest, and there is little which can be done about them as long as they are not causing an obstruction or a breach of the peace, in which case the police should be called. If the protest is on school grounds, then protesters can be asked to leave and their posters and placards removed. We would encourage schools to request protestors to remove any signage and to only remove it themselves as a last resort as this may be a provocative action. Schools have the legal right to exclude people from their school grounds, which are a private, not a public space, – under section 547 Education Act 1996, it is a criminal offence for a person who is on school premises without lawful authority to cause or permit a nuisance or disturbance and the Police can be called to remove them.
Schools should not engage in debate with the protesters or provide counterinformation to that being promulgated by the protesters. This is not a school’s role, but rather the job of the Government on the advice from their scientific advisers. Any contact with protestors should be kept to a minimum and school staff should remain calm, factual and considerate of their own safety during any discussion.
If schools require further support during an incident or wish to log one with us then please contact the School Improvement Team 01296 383030 during normal office hours or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Head of Service
Achievement & Learning