Pushy parents told to stop using smartphone video evidence to challenge sports day results

Pushy parents must stop using smartphone “video evidence” to challenge sports day results, a head teacher has warned.

Sian Evans, head teacher of Mynydd Bychan school in Cardiff, wrote to parents urging them not to film races, jumping events and throwing contests while they watched children compete.

In previous years, she said, parents had used iPads and smartphones to film sports day events and then used the footage to dispute the results, demanding changes to official standings.

Ms Evans wrote to parents ahead of this year’s sports day, warning them to stop the practice, saying: “Teacher’s word is final”.

She explained: “The members of staff at the finish line, and nobody else, have the absolute final say and as to the first, second and third place positions.

“Unfortunately, during the last few years parents have approached members of staff with evidence that they had filmed on electronic devices such as iPads in order to prove that their child should have been awarded a higher position in a particular race and comments also appeared on Facebook.

The members of staff at the finish line, and nobody else, have the absolute final say and as to the first, second and third place positionsSian Evans, head teacher of Mynydd Bychan school in Cardiff

“If this happens again, there is a strong possibility that we will have to consider changing the competitive nature of our sports morning.”

Ms Evans also told parents that if they wanted to take photographs, they must sign a permission form at Cardiff’s National Indoor Athletics Centre, where the sports day is held. She added that they are not allowed to upload photographs or videos of other children on social media sites.

“The arrangements for the smooth running of the morning are very tight,” Ms Evans told parents. “Members of staff work hard in various ways during the morning.”

Last summer, it emerged that parents had been banned from a primary school sports day after some were aggressive towards teachers.

The head teacher of Howard Junior School in King’s Lynn, Norfolk, said no parents would be invited to the annual event to “ensure the safety of staff, pupils and other parents”. Gregory Hill said aggressive behaviour towards staff by an “extremely small minority” had “ruined matters for all concerned”.

Police confirmed officers had been called to two incidents at the school since June.

A survey last year found that more than half of primary schools now hold non-competitive sports days with no “winners”. They host events where children are not singled out to compete but work in teams and are recognised simply for taking part.

Fifty-seven per cent of parents surveyed said their children’s infant and primary schools hold sports days with a “non-competitive theme”.

However, 82 per cent wanted a return to competitive sports days on the basis that children must realise “you can’t always win at everything in life and sometimes you have to lose”. 

Seventy-six per cent did not approve of “non-competitive” events, with parents saying that “healthy competition helped children individually to strive to improve and challenge themselves”.

Fifty-three per cent said they were “comfortable” with their child losing, believing that it wasn’t “a bad thing” because it built resilience and confidence.


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