Outrage as parents offered class photo without complex needs pupils at Scottish primary school

Council apologises for ‘distress’ caused and brands incident ‘totally unacceptable’

Parents have received an apology from a Scottish council after a photography firm offered alternative pictures with or without children with “complex” needs.

A photographer working for Tempest Photography took two separate photos of the P5 class at Aboyne Primary School in Aberdeenshire, with children with additional support needs (ASN) reportedly removed from one set.

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Parents were then sent a link with both versions to choose from.

Aboyne Primary School, in AberdeenshireAboyne Primary School, in Aberdeenshire
Aboyne Primary School, in Aberdeenshire

Aberdeenshire Council has since apologised to parents, stating the decision was not taken by the school and has immediately removed the link to the photos.

Meanwhile, Cornwall-based Tempest Photography – which employs local photographers to take school photos across the UK – said it had launched an investigation into the matter.

Natalie Pinnell, whose daughter Erin was among those excluded from a set of photographs, told the Press and Journal it felt like having her child “erased from history”.

She told the paper: “I am absolutely heartbroken. Furious.”

She added: “A lot of the other parents have decided not to purchase their school photos in support. That means a lot.

“To give people the option to erase my daughter from history for the sake of optics is frankly inhumane. One of the cruellest things that I’ve ever experienced.

“Me and the other parents just feel devastated beyond belief.”

Ms Pinnell also said the school was not aware of the decision to take two sets of photos and immediately investigated once alerted by parents.

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A second parent, Lisa Boyd, also told the newspaper her daughter Lily, a wheelchair user, was removed from an alternative photo, with the nine-year-old’s twin sister devastated.

Tempest Photography said: “We are currently investigating the situation with the school, and have no further comment.”

Aberdeenshire Council said: “We are aware that following Aboyne Primary School’s recent school class photographs, links to purchase the pictures included images with and without complex needs provision pupils.

“Whilst this was not a decision taken by the school, we absolutely appreciate the distress and hurt this has caused some parents and carers and we are sincerely sorry.

“The issue has been taken up with the photography company directly as this is totally unacceptable.”

The council added: “Aboyne is an inclusive school and every single child should be included, engaged and involved in their learning and school experiences.”

The PA news agency has asked Tempest Photography and Aberdeenshire Council for additional comment.



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