School vandalism: 'Headteachers cannot afford to pay for security'

AT A time when school budgets are being slashed it is distressing to hear about the huge amount of money that is having to be spent on carrying out unnecessary repairs.

Yet hard pressed headteachers have been forced to spend over 600,000 out of their precious budgets repairing damage caused by vandals over the past five years.

Not one of the city's 124 secondary and primary schools has been immune from attack. St Augustine's High fared worst having been targeted no less than 151 times at a cost of 27,000.

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But what must be of most concern is that all of the incidents are not the work of random vandals. Much of the 2,700 recorded attacks across the city have been perpetrated by pupils themselves.

The costs of repairing damaged items can be crippling for many schools and divert money away from essential items needed to improve general teaching standards.

But the problem of how to tackle the issue poses a dilemma for both the council and headteachers.

The council has ignored repeated requests from one parent council to erect a fence around the school to protect it. The proposal was rejected on cost grounds despite the fact the school spends almost its entire maintenance budget on repairing damage caused by vandals who enjoy easy access to the grounds.

Headteachers themselves simply cannot afford to pay to beef up security. At a time when the only major savings that can be made is through shedding staff they rightly consider it a priority to employ teachers rather than security guards.

It looks like it will remain open season for those hell bent on mindless destruction.

Sex offenders

IT MAY be of concern to some that registered sex offenders appear to be able to move freely around the city and that higher concentrations are to be found in some areas than others.

Although residents of individual streets are entitled to take a different view it matters little where they actually live and it is difficult to accept a conspiracy theory that the bulk are being deliberately housed in a few geographical areas of the city. It is surely coincidence that the biggest shift has seen most move out of the city centre into peripheral areas.

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The only thing that is important is that the authorities keep up to speed with any change of address so that they can be properly supervised and monitored.