North London police promise protection after Palestinian protestors "threaten" Leyton primary school

Protests outside Barclay primary school in Leyton (User submitted)
Protests outside Barclay primary school in Leyton (User submitted)

North-east London police have promised protection after demonstrators “made threats” against a primary school in Leyton that banned pro-Palestine badges.

Scores of protestors rallied outside Barclay Primary School last month which has led teachers to consider "reverting to online learning" after a reported bomb threat.

As a “last resort” the school might be closed if safety cannot be guaranteed.

The Lion Academy Trust already shut the school two days before the official end of term before Christmas, saying "a serious threat was received in writing" and an anonymous caller made "racial slurs".

The Metropolitan Police has now pledged its support to the school community, saying extra patrols are taking place and that safety for pupils is a priority.

Simon Crick, the Met’s chief superintendent for north east London, said: “We are taking these threats incredibly seriously.

“[We] would like to reassure pupils, teachers and parents that we are doing everything in our power to keep you safe while our investigation continues.

“Hate crime will not be tolerated in London and we will take action against those who commit offences and pose a threat to communities.”

Barclay Primary School (google)
Barclay Primary School (google)

The saga began when the school banned clothing or badges showing “political allegiance” - with one child reportedly reprimanded for wearing a Morocco national football shirt.

Shortly before Christmas, masked men climbed onto the fence at the school at night and hung Palestinian flags.

Protesters then gathered at the site chanting phrases such as "education is under attack".

The TikTok video, which alleged the child had been "bullied, harassed and mentally traumatised by his teachers" for wearing a Palestine badge on his coat, claimed that he was "denied playtime and lunch privileges" for refusing to remove it.

The school has denied this and executive headteacher Justin James wrote to parents to say there was no evidence of bullying or misconduct found through an investigation.

The school has said that even after those improvements it might have no other option but to resort to online learning if the safety of its pupils and staff couldn't be guaranteed.

Mr James wrote: “If this situation does not revert to a normal mode of operation or should the trust believe that despite these measures, the safety of children or staff cannot be assured, then we will – with limited notice – close the school and revert to online learning for as long as we believe it is necessary.

“This is the option of last resort – but please be aware that should staff continue to be threatened, then we will have no option but to close the school.

“Additionally, if any parent or individual is proven to be involved in instigating this campaign against the school, via their actions online or in person, we will act to ban those individuals from attending the site.”

Barclay has attempted to increase its surveillance by hiring private security and installing CCTV cameras.