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Dagenham mums' outrage as daughters told to change in front of male teachers

PUBLISHED: 18:27 30 March 2015 | UPDATED: 18:51 30 March 2015

Sarah Crossley (right) and her friend, Carol Jerzyk, who have signed a petition for children at Dorothy Barley Academy to only get changed in front of teachers of the same sex

Sarah Crossley (right) and her friend, Carol Jerzyk, who have signed a petition for children at Dorothy Barley Academy to only get changed in front of teachers of the same sex

Archant

A group of worried mums who felt uneasy about their daughters changing in front of male staff have prompted a change in policy at a Dagenham academy.

Sarah Crossley, 35, phoned Dorothy Barley Junior School’s safeguarding team after her daughter, who is in year four, was supervised by a man when getting changed for PE.

“I found out two members of staff must always be present when children are changing,” said Sarah, of Ilchester Road, Dagenham.

“Up until now they haven’t done this though. Children develop at all different ages yet boys and girls are changing together up until year five. I think that should stop in year three.”

More than 33 parents signed a petition set up by fellow parent Carol Jerzyk calling for children to get changed in front of staff of the same sex.

A few days later, on March 23, the academy changed their policy so at least two members of staff are always present when children get changed. A spokeswoman for REAch2, the sponsor of Dorothy Barley, said: “The safeguarding of our children has always been of paramount importance.

“As part of our ongoing continuous improvement, we have supplemented our approach by having at least two members of staff – and sometimes as many as four – supervising children when they change for PE or sport.”

But Carol, 40, also of Ilchester Road, says she’s still not happy with the outcome.

“They’re at the stage when they shouldn’t be getting changed in front of male teachers at all,” she added. “My daughter is eight and doesn’t even get changed in front of her dad – so I don’t want her getting changed in front of a male total stranger.

“They might have more than one member of staff but my daughter is still getting changed in front of men and other boys.”

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