PARENTS at a Bicester primary school have said their children are scared to go in after experiencing ‘horrific’ bullying from older pupils.

Mums and dads have shared stories on a private Facebook page about their children at Southwold Primary School who they say have been threatened, beaten, kicked and jumped on by older pupils.

Some 30 parents joined a crisis meeting at the Holm Way school on Friday to voice their concern to head teacher Helen Wollington – but some said they were not reassured by what she had to say.

They are now banding together to put pressure on the school to put a stop to bullying and violence.

Clive Winstone, 56, from Bicester, who has an eight-year-old son in Year 3, attended the meeting and said the head teacher was hiding from how big the problem really is.

He said: “All the head teacher said was that the school is following procedures, but they’re clearly not.

"She said there had only been six bullying incidents at the school this year but that’s not true – I’ve heard of at least 30.”

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Parents are not only concerned about verbal bullying but the physical violence that has come with it.

Mr Winstone said his son had been bullied since Year 1 including incidents of assault.

He said: “There was an incident where two boys in Year 6 followed him to the toilet and threatened him, kicked him and called him names.

“On another occasion my son was beaten with sticks by kids who were three years older than him – they even left marks on his back. Kids have also pushed him and jumped on his stomach.

“It’s absolutely terrible for a primary school.”

Mr Winstone told the head teacher about the incidents of assault but he said he was told to go to the police as it was not the school's responsibility.

However, when he went to the police on Sunday, he said officers were ‘horrified’ that he was told to do so.

Although children at the school – which is run by The White Horse Federation – are under the age of criminal responsibility, police have now said they will help the school tackle the issue.

A Thames Valley Police spokesperson said: “An officer is liaising with a national anti-bullying campaign and the school themselves, with a view to enhancing students’ awareness around bullying issues.

“Officers will also be in contact with the school to arrange a policing input when students return in September.

“Thames Valley Police understand that incidents of bullying can be distressing for both the students and their parents, we are supporting the school with their safeguarding practices.”

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Mr Winstone said: “We all just want the school to come clean about the situation. I’ve had to go to the police because they will hopefully give us the help that we need.”

One mum, who has asked not to be named, said she had to motivate her son in Year 5 to go to school every day because he was so scared to face the bullies.

She said: “Every morning I have to cheer him up to go to school – I even have to bribe him. He’ll pretend he’s ill so that I won’t let him go to school. I tell him that we’ll do something nice together or go for a short break somewhere to motivate him.

“He’s very sensitive and he always thinks the bullies are going to hurt him and gets very upset by the things that they say to him.

“They’ve made his life a misery.”

The woman, who is from Bicester, said her son’s first bullying incident happened in the first four days that he joined the school in Year 3, where children threw him to the ground and stood on his chest.

On another occasion she said he was pushed over a fence into a thorny bush where he sustained cuts and fractures.

She said: “At the age of seven you are very vulnerable. There have also been incidents where he’s been emotionally blackmailed and it’s creating a lot of anxiety for him and others who are experiencing the same.

"The children don't understand right from wrong and there need to be better punishments."

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A spokesperson from the White Horse Federation said: "Southwold Primary School take anti-bullying immensely seriously. The school follows a stringent anti-bullying policy in-line with Department for Education guidance and safeguarding policies.

"To keep anti-bullying at the forefront of staff, parents, and pupil minds, we participate in local and national events that support anti-bullying, and regularly post links to information and guidance.

"Any incidents that have been reported directly to the school, will have been managed swiftly and proportionately."

"Parents may choose to discuss matters with other parents, within private groups and on social media. These private groups are not official and therefore not appropriate channels for reporting such an important issue like bullying. As a school we encourage all parents, and children who know of any issues relating to bullying to read and follow their schools policies."