Travellers invade £12,000-a-year private school forcing staff to send pupils home as intruders say ‘we have every right to be here, there was no sign saying we couldn’t’
- AKS Lytham School in Blackpool shut its doors today as travellers were on site
- Teachers stood at the school gates and told children to turn around and go home
- Six caravans and a number of vehicles parked on the fields on school grounds
- The travellers left the site at around 2.40pm this afternoon after men were seen speaking to officers
Travellers pitched up on the grounds of a £12,000-a-year-private school forcing staff to send pupils home earlier today.
Teachers at the prestigious AKS Lytham School in Blackpool were forced to stand at the school gates this morning to tell students to turn around and leave.
The travellers however, claimed they had ‘every right’ to stay on the site, after around six caravans and a number of vehicles parked up on the fields which form part of the school’s grounds.
Loose dogs were said to have been prowling the premises this morning as school officials attempt to resolve the issue.
The school (pictured above) which charges £12,000-a-year had to close this morning due to travellers on the site
AKS Lytham headteacher Mike Walton this morning said: ‘Due to unauthorised presence of travellers on the school grounds we have had to close the school today.’
A receptionist added: ‘We are having to tell parents that school isn’t on today.
‘There are dogs running around and it is felt it isn’t safe for the pupils to be in.’
Parents praised the school after they uploaded their statement to its official Facebook page.
One parent said: ‘Thank you for making the correct decision to close the school today. Keeping the children safe is of paramount importance.’
Another added: ‘Very well organised this morning considering how many children had to leave at the same time!’
This is while one woman called Susan Scott, claiming to be one of the travellers on the site, posted on Facebook this morning.
She said: ‘I’m one of the travellers on that site.
‘We have every right to be on there as there was no gate or sign to say we couldn’t go on. We are only going to be here for 8 weeks.
‘My caravan is clean and we don’t leave mess.’
A number of men emerged from caravans to speak with officers face to face from around midday.
A few parents of children at the school who live nearby arrived at the gates to watch the incident play out.
At around 2.40pm this afternoon the travellers left the site, in total it’s thought there were more than eight caravans parked on the fields with many more vehicles alongside them.
Lots of children and pet dogs were seen running around before the exodus. A police canine unit was in place but it’s not thought it was needed in the end.
One passerby, who wanted to remain anonymous, said: ‘This is just a real pain.
‘I work and so does my wife so we had to make last minute arrangements for my kids who go to the school.
‘I understand why the school have made the decision to close for the day.
‘It’s a shame that it’s come to this though.
‘Fortunately it looks like things are getting resolved now, so hopefully the kids will be back in tomorrow.’
The man said parents of children at the school received an email at around 9am telling them it was closed and instructing for youngsters to be picked up.
It’s thought most teachers remained in the school, as some were seen working through the windows. None were available to approach for comment.
AKS Lytham is a private school which has more than 500 pupils aged from three to 18.
The ‘AKS’ abbreviation began being used in 2012 when King Edward VII and Queen Mary School and Arnold School merged.
It is due to break up for the summer holidays on Friday 5/7.
In a statement this morning Fylde Police said: ‘We are aware of the presence of travellers on school grounds at AKS Lytham and we are working closely with both the school and the local authority to resolve the issue’.
Lancashire Police have been contacted.
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