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Station Manager uses 'health & safety'reason for refusing school poetry reading tradition

From: http://www.thisislocallondon.co.uk/news/9987283.Health_and_safety_rules_end_Bickley_Park_School_s_platform_poetry_performances/

Bickley Park School's platform poetry performances ended by health and safety rules
12:09pm Tuesday 16th October 2012 in News By Robert Fisk 
 
Bickley Park Prep School pupils pictured in 2005 performing poetry on a platform at Bickley Station
    YEARS of Bickley Park School's platform poetry performances at Bickley station have been brought to an end by health and safety regulations.

Every year boys from the school would spend an hour at Bickley station on National Poetry Day entertaining commuters by reading a selection of pieces.

This got a very favourable response with people commenting at the time or emailing their thanks when they got into their offices.

But after more than 12 years of performances they were told the event could not take place due to health and safety concerns from the rail operator.

  Bickley Park Prep School pupils pictured in 2005 performing poetry on a platform at Bickley Station

The platform event was dreamed up by Pat Gush, the school’s head of English and deputy headteacher.

He said: “It was a good way of taking poetry to the community.

“Every year we got permission from the station to make sure they were happy with us doing it and then about a year ago they said it is difficult to do it because of health and safety with the large numbers of people on the platforms.

“Everybody says ‘health and safety gone mad’ but we do understand and I understand the concerns that a station master would have.”

The poetry performances used to include around 16 boys from the senior part of the prep school in Page Heath Lane, Bickley.

  But now on National Poetry Day the emphasis is placed upon an interhouse poetry competition involving all the boys in the houses reciting poems at the school.

Mr Gush added: “The house poetry is a very successful event.

“The kids love it and they really rise to the occasion.”

A spokesman from Southeastern, which runs Bickley Station, says the pupils can read poetry at the station, but not on the platforms.

They said: "We’re always happy to have the Bickley Park students read at the station, however the platform is not the safest place for this.

"There’s not a huge amount of space on the platform and we do have fast trains and freight trains running through the station, so it’s our preference to keep the platforms free for passengers and staff working to dispatch trains.

"The students would be welcome to read their poetry from within other areas of the station such as the booking hall or at the front of the station, we just ask that the school contact us to discuss their request so we can coordinate it with the running of the station.”

 

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