Dear Parents and Carers

Last Friday lunchtime, I got a call from my partner to say our 9-year-old lad had had an accident in school, the ambulance was on its way and I needed to get home quick. It’s about 30 miles and by the time I got there, he was in A&E with a clearly broken arm. He had done a good job on it; both the radius and the ulna were snapped in two with one half of his radius pushing past the other half, creating a gruesome bulge under the skin and a bend in his forearm where there really shouldn’t be one.

He had surgery to pin both bones on Saturday (was I alone in not fully understanding that ‘pinning’ bones could mean a metal rod running along the length of both bones, inside the cavity with all the bone marrow?) and is now in plaster and back in school. The NHS is amazing really. Being only 9, he shouldn’t need more than 6 weeks for the bones to grow along the pins and fuse together and the plaster to be off, good as new. It’s his right arm so, whilst he is thoroughly miserable at no football or rugby, he also can’t write – a silver lining for any Year 4 boy.

We met the Head of his school on Monday morning, mostly to discuss him taking painkillers at school and how we can avoid him slithering his way out of doing any work. The Head is excellent and everything was in place, but it wasn’t long before we heard her explain that they had investigated what happened, he had tripped over a bench in the playground and they would look at their procedures at playtime, particularly the use of the benches. My partner and I leapt in straight away; there is absolutely no need to do any of that we both said. We already knew what had happened: our lad had explained. At lunchtime there had been a zombie apocalypse (quite common in Year 4 apparently), he had a zombie on his tail and who wants to be a zombie on a Friday afternoon? To escape the zombie, he had hurdled the bench, badly, catching a foot and to avoid a full face plant, had put out his right arm and snap. The zombie (one of his best mates) took one look at the arm, almost puked and then ran for help. A complete accident.

It saddens me that we are now in a situation in society where the minority of people who always look for blame have put the rest of us on the back foot. A bench in primary school serves two purposes; to jump over it or run along it – just like walls. I believe all services, including schools, should be as safe as possible, but I hate the idea of my lad growing up in a world with no risk; it’s not a world I recognise and he needs to learn to manage the risks. In fact, the biggest risk can be the insulation we sometimes see placed around children to avoid the consequences of their actions or the stresses of growing up. Children will be at times happy, at times sad and they will have accidents – it’s all part of learning and growing up. They need to learn how to deal with life, including the consequences of actions, whether the good, the bad or the clumsy.

Life-long learning for us all here though; when hurdling barriers to escape zombies, pick your feet up!

With best wishes

Andy Perry – Head Teacher

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