A MUM has enlisted a professional photographer to take an ‘unofficial’ school leavers’ photo because she was so upset for the pupils who’d been booted off the official photo over behaviour or lapses in uniform standards.

Samantha Harrod wants all year 11 pupils from Holy Trinity in Athersley to attend the photoshoot tomorrow (Thursday) after a number were told they could not be on the official whole-year photo taken by a professional photographer last Wednesday.

She is printing leaflets and will be handing them out around the school and throughout the community over the next few days.

The photoshoot is taking place tomorrow afternoon outside Holy Trinity. Samantha will be there with the photographer from 2pm, ready for the photo to be taken after school finishes at 3pm.
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Her own son, Harvey, 15, fell foul of the rules because his shoes were grey rather than black, and he had writing on his tie.

“There’s at least six that I know of and I’m sure there’s more,” she said. “Everyone who comes along can have a digital version of the photo, but I’m going to make sure that all year 11s who were excluded from the official photo can have their own framed copy to keep.”

Samantha said she understood that schools needed to tackle poor behaviour and that some probably deserved to have rewards taken away, like attending the school prom.

But she believes letting them line up for the photo last week with their friends, then telling them they couldn’t be on it, was a step too far.

“I think it’s so important they have a memory of their time at school. They can look back on that in years to come and reflect on what they did, and what they did wrong.

“I think it’s so sad and so upsetting. I can understand they have to have sanctions. I can understand telling them they can’t go to the prom or things like that.

“But to rob them of that photo with their friends that they can remember for the rest of their lives, I think it’s just wrong.

“I know year 11 is an important year and they have got to knuckle down, but some of these kids have already been punished, they’ve already been taught in seclusion. Harvey was told he can’t go to the prom, months ago.

“Why punish them twice? When can these children repent their sins and be forgiven? It’s supposed to be a church school at the end of the day.”

Samantha has already recruited a photographer who is happy to take the picture, and she is planning to provide pop and crisps to all those who turn up for the photograph.

She has even received donations from people wanting to support the project to make sure it can go ahead.

“The ice cream van is going to be there, and he’s going to do a discount on ice creams for all year 11s.

“We’ve had one local business donate £100 to help cover the costs and to provide refreshments for everyone who comes.

“We want all year 11s to be there, everyone, whether they were on the school photo or if they were excluded from it. Everyone.”

Samantha said she admits she did not buy her son a new pair of school shoes because there was just six weeks of school left, so sent him in his grey shoes instead.

“Money’s tight, who really wants to buy new shoes with just six weeks of school left?”

Lissa Oldcorn, deputy head teacher at Holy Trinity, said: “We understand that the end of year photograph is an important memento for parents, however, there were a number of factors in relation to this particular incident.

“Appropriate support, over time, has been offered, but obviously as a school, we cannot discuss any issues in relation to individual students. We work hard to maintain positive relationships with our parents and to support all our students, whilst maintaining the highest standards in our school.

“In this case a meeting had already been arranged to resolve the issue around the group photograph and we are very disappointed that all parties involved did not allow this process to conclude.”

- The photoshoot is on Thursday afternoon outside Holy Trinity. Samantha will be there with the photographer from 2pm, ready for the photo to be taken after school finishes at 3pm.