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RANT - My Daughters School......

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I need a rant, & some advice.


My Daughter who is 12 is in her 2nd year of secondary school, & started back 2 weeks ago.

On her first day back the children were told that from now on they would have to keep all their exercise books (15 0f them) in a lever arch size file,& bring it in every day.

Now, this thing is MASSIVE ,it barely fits in her backpack,& it is really heavy with all her books in.

She put it in her backpack the other day & could barely stand straight.I took her backpack off of her, & it weighed 12lbs!!!


The thing that REALLY annoys me is that on that particular day she would have only had to take in 3 exercise books, but the kids have been told they have to bring them all in every day.

This is on top of PE kit, hockey sticks, cooking ingrediants,reference books & all their other stuff.


I (along with lots of other parents) have complained by phone & in writing to the school,to no avail.

They just say it is a school rule, & children without the learning file will be given detention.


There seems to be no realisation that carrying this weight could give them all long term back problems.

My girl is already complaining of a sore neck, & seeing her struggle up the road to get the school bus really makes me worried & angry.



Does anyone elses school have a learning file or a policy like this?

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Sounds ridiculous to me! I would write to the Chair of the Governors and get a petition going. Point out the concerns about health and ask to see their risk assessment on this ruling.

Tell them you are going to contact the Health and Safety Executive and your local LEA for advice.

Surely they only need to carry the books necessary for that day? why haven't they got somewhere they can leave their stuff, ie. a locker?

I'd be angry too!!

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I agree with Annie, that sounds like excellent advice Sarah.

My daughter is the same age/ school year as yours and she keeps the bulk of her books in a locker, only carrying around the ones she needs for homework, pus the PE kit etc as needed. And even that seems a lot to me on occasions.

She does have the threat of detention if she ever doesn't have the right book for the right lesson, so she needs to be organised enough to take the right homework books in on time, and never, ever forget their locker key, but at this age I think it's probably good for them to learn some organisational skills like that.

My opinion is that your daughters school is completely outrageous expecting young children to carry such heavy weights and you really should protest. I'm positive that I've seen some research somewhere about the damage that children can do to their backs carrying heavy weights, although I think that was to do with paperboys. If I can remember where I saw it I'll post the details.

Thank goodness that she is using a backpack by the way. Things would be 10x worse if she was slinging a bag over her shoulder like so many of them do- that is incredibly damaging to backs, even at quite light weights.

Good luck with the fight.

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That's terrible Sarah. Both my lads are at secondary school and take just the books in that they need for the day plus whatever sports and cooking equipment that's required. It's definitely worth persuing this one because it's not fair on the children. The weight of my sons' backpacks with just one day's equipment is far too heavy so I can't imagine what your poor daughter is having to cope with.

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Thanks for your support :D


I have written to the School, but I will forward it onto the chair of Govenors too.


The thinking behind this is that


1) They all have all their books,& no one goes to School without a book at any time

BUT - Surely it is good to teach them the responsibility of taking their books in on a daily basis? Devon didn't forget a single book last year!


2) Any teacher can look at any book at any time.

BUT - When? When they should be teaching the subject they are employed to teach? To be honest, her books don't get looked at that often by the teacher who is teaching that subject, let alone a completely different subject!


In America (Land of the Lawsuit) children are not allowed to carry more than 10% of theri body weight.

In our Hospitals too Staff are not allowed to lift heavy items on their own, & this is also true of the Building trade etc.


My friend girl started at this school this term & she is a tiny little thing,just turned 11. To see her struggling with her backpack is just awful.

Also they work from the learning file,so have it on the desks at all time, leaving hardly any room for anything else. Devons writting is already suffering from having to work like this.

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Reading this thread is making my blood boil :evil::evil::evil:


I am in total agreement, no kid in their developing years should have to carry such heavy weights to school. I have watched our kids struggling with heavy backpacks full of books PLUS a carrier bag in each hand for various other items such as gym kit etc.


This has been on my mind for some time and this thread has brought it back to the forefront. I must admit that it doesn't seem quite as bad this school year (as yet).


I have to say that i'm usually dead against the compensation culture that has been created... BUT... Even i've considered sending a solicitors letter to the school registering my distaste and pointing out that any future problems resulting from this blatant lack of health & safety for my kids may result in a claim been made against them at a future date.


At my business I have to have a health and safety policy on virtually everything, amongst this raft of paperwork is a policy for manual lifting, along with the associated risk assesments etc. Do the school have these for the kids? I suspect not.


I wholeheartedly support you in your rant, i'm now going to find my bottle of Southern Comfort and chill out for a while to calm down 8)





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Lesley - we live in "celebrityville" here, but all their kids go to the posh private schools :(


Jem - a solicitors letter sounds like a fine idea to me. I may look into that next week.

Hubby just told me that (he is in the building trade) bags of sand/plaster/cement have all been downsized to conform to some lifting standard or another. Probably a European legislation I should think :wink:


I hate the fact that we may be setting our kids up for future health problems here just because the school thinks that this is a good idea.


I spoke to Devon earlier & said that as far as I was concerned she did not have to take the file in,just her books.

The poor little thing blanched & said she HAD to take it in or the school will phone me & tell me to bring it in for her!

She would have to sit in the "focus room" (for very bad pupils) until I came.

She obviously does not want to be singled out as a deviant, & is a bit of a conformist (Bless!), so I won't upset her by insisting that she doesn't take it in, but I think it should be the parents & pupils choice,really.


Also, they introduced this without consulting parents or pupils.

I am hoping that the Govenors will be helpful.

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has the school come up with a reason for this unacceptable request??

when i was at school, many moons ago, we only had to take the books for whatever lesson we had that day. i really dont understand why you would need to have a french book when you dont even have a french lesson that day.


i bet the teachers dont have all the books they take home to mark in an arch lever file, i bet they are in much larger boxes, namely a car that they can drive home rather than strap it to their backs.


in employment law i think there is some rule that specifies that under 16's shouldnt be asked to do certain things and lifting heavy objects is one.

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Good luck with your campaign Sarah it is terrible that they have to carry so much in to school........We are very lucky at Toms school they only take what they need and all have lockers that they are encouraged to use, they have to downsize their bags in registration so that they only carry the mornings or afternoons books between lessons........The headmaster seems genuinely concerned about the boys welfare, or maybe he is just worried about being sued by a parent.......... :lol:

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Does anyone here actually like there headteacher, as far as I can tell although do is bully the teachers parebts and pupils.


Both my headmasters were lovely. Our primary school head cried the day he retired. Even though he always gave the impression that he was tough and stood for no messing, we always knew that he had a soft heart. My secondary headmaster was a disciplinarian but was always so kind to me.

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*Sarah* - I used to be a School Governor (albeit at Primary level) and they are usually very interested in what goes concerns parents at a school, especially if there is an OFSTED visit on the horizon. If you can find one, I would approach a Parent Governor (as opposed to an LEA Governor) because they should have children at the school and will therefore be in the same boat as you and your daughter. A petition is also a good idea. A threat of legal action is a possibility, but only as a last resort.

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When we got really annoyed about something at our school my friend wrote to the Richmond and Twickenhan Times and it was a front page story! Then again, I think she was pretty much hated by the headteacher after that although he didn't say anything! (my friend left the school shortly after so it was Ok!) Good luck and I hope you manage to change such a silly rule. If you make a petition I'll sign it! :D

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