Wellingborough schools unhappy after having to remove banners celebrating good inspections

Pupils at Freeman's Endowed with the banner before it had to come down
Pupils at Freeman's Endowed with the banner before it had to come down

Staff, pupils and parents have been left disappointed after being told to remove banners celebrating good inspections.

After recent inspections, both All Saints CEVA Primary School and Freeman’s Endowed C of E Junior Academy in Wellingborough put banners up outside their schools to celebrate the success.

However, they have since been told by Wellingborough Council that the banners can only stay up for a set amount of time before the schools have to apply for consent to display them.

This has left staff, pupils and parents upset at the decision, which they feel is stopping them sharing their good news with the community.

Victoria Wallis-O’Dell, principal at Freeman’s Endowed, says she was sent an email giving her 14 days to remove the banners and added: “I find this unbelievable, especially when the council’s strap line is ‘Making Wellingborough a place to be proud of.’

“My children and staff were on a real high after achieving such great success and now they just don’t understand why we can’t advertise the fact we are a good school, surely that’s a good thing for Wellingborough.”

The banner at All Saints, which has since been taken down

The banner at All Saints, which has since been taken down

Ms Wallis-O’Dell said it looks like it would cost the school more than £100 to apply to keep their banners up, which is a lot for a school with very limited funds.

And she added: “We have had no complaints about the banners, in fact it has been the complete opposite and actually the complaints are coming in about the request to remove them.”

While they understand the council can’t have just anyone putting up banners around the area, they feel there should be some exceptions for establishments such as schools.

Val Griffiths, deputy headteacher at All Saints, said: “We understand from the council that we have technically breached the rules on planning permission but to be fair, as we are not ‘advertising’ for any benefit other than sharing our news with the local community, we do not feel it should be categorised in that way.”

She said they were given 28 days from the arrival of the banner to remove it, which they have done, but they are unhappy that they can’t share their news in this way.

A number of parents have also tweeted about the banners being taken down.

One said: “I noticed it had gone, ridiculous.

“A wonderful announcement of your success and it has to be removed, disappointing.”

Another parent tweeted: “Why not celebrate @Principal_Free [Freeman’s Endowed] being a good school in our area rather than ordering the removal of banners on railings @BCWboro #Really?”

A spokesman for Wellingborough Council said: “The council is delighted to hear of the recent good inspections of Freeman’s and All Saints Primary in Wellingborough.

“Both schools are welcome to display their banners for 28 days but if they would like to display them for a longer period then under the Town and Country (Control of Advertisement)(England) Regulations advertisement consent is required.

“The council receives many requests to display and complaints about outdoor banners, signs etc and must be fair, transparent and consistent when applying the regulations.”