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Gateway Academy boss writes to parents to set record straight over "suspect device"

Dear Parent/Carer

RE: FRIDAY 22 APRIL 2016 AT THE GATEWAY ACADEMY AND GATEWAY PRIMARY FREE SCHOOL

Firstly I would like to take this opportunity to thank parents/carers and students for your cooperation on Friday 22 April 2016 when the Gateway Academy and Gateway Primary Free School had to be evacuated.

As you are aware, we were advised by the police at 11.50 am to evacuate the building, following the discovery of a suspect item, prior to this the item had been locked in an admin office with all adjacent rooms immediately evacuated to ensure everyone’s safety.

At 12.00pm the students and staff were evacuated from the building for what we were informed by the authorities, should be a precaution and last no longer than 45 minutes. Due to the nature of the incident, we were unable to inform parents/carers by text as all members of staff had to evacuate the building and could not access computers. I would like to stress that at no point during this incident was any child at risk.

At 12.52pm we released a statement on both schools’ websites and informed the local press clarifying the situation. From this point on this situation was in the control of the authorities and staff members worked with the students to ensure that the situation remained calm. The behaviour of the students was impeccable. Their cooperation and manner in which they conducted themselves was exemplary and a credit to the community.

We should be incredibly proud of our 1,600 students, each and every one of them. I would like to apologise for the long period of time students were outside, the loss of learning hours and for any distress felt by students and parents/carers.

Some information on social media has been miscommunicated and I would like to take this opportunity to clarify that the device found was NOT a nail bomb and after testing by the authorities dealing with the situation, it was determined that the device was harmless.

The young person in question that brought the device into school will be subject to the GLC’s disciplinary procedures and Miss McLaughlin has recommended his permanent exclusion to Governors, who will decide his future at the Gateway Academy.

We take the safety of students and staff as a highest priority and despite the negative press, we will always put the safety of our students first.

We have already spoken to and met many parents to hear their views and learn lessons for the future.

It is our standard practice to review our policies and procedures following such an incident, this has already started. Mr Martin, Miss McLaughlin and myself will make ourselves available at 3pm this Wednesday in the Free School should you wish to make further comment.

Yours faithfully

Kevin Sadler

CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER

THE GATEWAY LEARNING COMMUNITY

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