Sports days overshadowed by pushy parents

News Article

The days are long gone when a tennis umpire or football referee’s decision was final.

Technology now means that Wimbledon has ‘Hawkeye’ to settle questionable line challenges, while World Cup referees have VAR video footage to replay incidents.

However, the practice of using video evidence to challenge decisions, appears to be infiltrating school sports days.

The head teacher of a primary school in Cardiff wrote to parents urging them not to film their children taking part in sports day activities.

In her letter she revealed: “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.

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

She warned parents not to challenge the results this year, saying: “teacher’s word is final”.

In another sports day-related debacle, a Norfolk primary school has banned all parents after some became aggressive towards teachers.

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

Matthew Johnson, an Associate Solicitor with Palmers, said: “The issue of parents filming or photographing their children at sports days and other school events – whether to challenge a ‘photo-finish’ or simply as a record of their son or daughter’s proud achievements – can create a headache for schools.

“Although no school wants to appear to be a killjoy, photography raises issues relating to safeguarding and possible breaches of GDPR privacy regulations which encompasses the storage or sharing of images.

“Many schools will already have in place robust guidelines relating to this issue but the GDPR regulations have caused confusion for some, so if your school is still wondering whether it is fully compliant or you have concerns relating to data protection, it’s not too late to find out.”

For help and advice on GDPR, its impact on the education sector and how your school can ensure it fully meets the new legislation, please contact us.