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Students apologise for protest

Dover Christ Church Academy
Dover Christ Church Academy

Students who planned a peaceful demonstration over a change in lunch hour arrangements at their school have apologised to the principal for the fact it “got out of hand”.

Two excluded pupils and a man were arrested after police were called to Dover Christ Church Academy – the former Archers Court Maths and Computing College – on Monday when some of the pupils walked out and began staging a protest at the front of the school.

Principal Richard Williams praised the “significant majority” of pupils who stayed in their lessons and did not become involved.

One teacher had the back of her hand struck during the demonstration and some damage was caused to staff cars and a school gate.

A 43-year-old man arrested outside the school for a public order offence has been issued with an £80 fixed penalty notice.

The two boys who were arrested have been released on police bail pending further enquiries.

The dispute was over changes to the arrangements for lunchtimes at the academy, which opened a month ago.

In the past all the students had their 35-minute lunch break at the same time. Principal Richard Williams said that because of lack of space it was difficult for all of them to get through the canteen in the time available and for them to sit down.

“It was unacceptable,” he said. “My intention was to give them 30 minutes, but to have two of the four colleges on lunchbreak at a time.

"This meant there was enough time for them to eat their meals, and enough room for them all to sit down and talk to their friends. It was much more orderly."

However, some students say the new arrangements also interfere with coursework clubs which they were attending at lunchtimes to receive extra help with GCSE work.

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Full report and photos in this week's Dover Mercury.

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