A SCHOOL has made a dramatic U-turn on a policy which meant parents had to have Criminal Records Bureau checks to watch their children play sport.

Isambard Community School turned away dad Neil Park when he went to watch his 12-year-old son George in a rugby match last week.

He was told he needed to produce the form to show he had no criminal record relevant to being near children.

Isambard stated it took children’s safety “very seriously” and had implemented the rule over fears strangers could access the building through the playing fields.

But the school released a statement yesterday that did not mention the council CRB checks but said parents could watch via the Tadpole Lane entrance.

The area had not been given as an option at the time parents were informed of the policy.

The statement said: “Parents are more than welcome to attend to watch sports fixtures at Isambard Community School.

“However, there is no access to the sports pitches through the main school building. Parents are requested to use the Tadpole Lane entrance where there is ample parking.

“There have previously been issues with parents and other visitors arriving at the Isambard Way entrance and being annoyed to be asked to drive to Tadpole Lane.

“However, we are unable to allow visitors access through the school during the normal school day, which includes the enrichment time between 3.15pm and 6pm. We hope this clarifies the school’s position.” The school said it was “disappointed” by the media coverage of the story and added: “We apologise for the fact that the Advertiser were given out-dated information regarding this issue prior to the article going to press.”

The statement is thought to be referring to the fact that though CRB checks are needed for parents going through the front of the school, they are not needed for access via Tadpole Lane.

But Mr Park, 54, of Oakhurst, said: “The statement is a complete U-turn even though they do not mention CRB checks. They are doing a complete turnabout but trying to cover their backs at the same time.

“They have backed down because it caused such a stir, and they looked silly.

“At the same time, though, they are accusing me of giving misleading information to the press when the only information they had issued at that point was that CRB checks were needed. It’s a direct attack on my honesty and integrity and I will be taking further advice.”

The school’s policy was further undermined by the NSPCC yesterday.

Spokesman Jon Brown said: “CRB checks protect children and can, and do, save lives. But they were never intended to be used for one-off events such as parents attending sporting competitions and the NSPCC would never support their use in this way. In fact, schools doing this may find they are breaking the law.”