A SCHOOL has hit back after being criticised for carrying out a fire drill which sparked outrage among parents.

The fire drill, which took place at The Sweyne Park School, in Rayleigh, saw the whole school out in the playground seemingly mixing with other “bubbles”.

One parent, who did not want to be named, has since taken their child out of school following the incident.

The parent said: “There was an incident on Tuesday where a staff member was confirmed with Covid and the whole class is now isolating.

“To then conduct a fire drill in the way that they have is baffling, considering the rise in Covid at the moment and everything that is going on. It’s just ridiculous that they find it acceptable to put other people’s children at risk by not abiding by any sort of social distancing or putting masks in place or anything like that.

“My son was with his year and close to others in the year above him. The whole school went out by the same corridors so there was no social distancing then.

“I have kept my son off school and if I don’t get acceptable answers to my questions from the school then I will be keeping him off until I feel it is safe to send him back.”

A mum, who also asked not want to be named, said: “As parents, many of us have expressed concerns about how easily the virus can be spread among our children, and brought home to vulnerable and elderly members of our families.

“With the reported rise in infections in younger people it’s a concern. Many parents have called and emailed the school, including us. They don’t see a problem as a fire drill is necessary with the new starters.

“They have an enormous field that surely would have been safer for keeping everyone apart, or separate fire drills on separate days to keep the kids in their bubbles. 🤷‍

“Parents should have been warned so we could have sent our children in with masks that day.”

As a result of the criticism from Thursday’s drill, Kerry Wilby, headteacher, said: “The school carried out a risk assessment in preparation for the fire drill, and we are content that the appropriate health and safety procedures were followed to minimise risk.

“Pupils were assembled outside in their year group bubbles, in two separate locations, with the appropriate distance between each bubble. As always, we had members of staff monitoring this to ensure that distance was maintained.

“Within three minutes of leaving the building, pupils were assembled in their designated year group areas, front facing, in silence, showing respect for the need to comply with the usual rules.

“I have been made aware that one of our pupils used their phone to take a photograph while moving to the assembly point in the few moments before orderly lines were formed.

“The health and safety of our pupils and staff is at the forefront of all that we do. Extensive planning and preparation have gone on in relation to all operational elements of the school in the current “Covid” climate. We are always mindful of balancing risk, and believe that the need for the fire drill, in the open air, outweighed the potential risks.”