Birmingham & Black Country

Traveller camp forces Birmingham school partial closure

Shenley Academy, Birmingham Image copyright Google
Image caption The group of travellers included about 60 adults and some children, police said

A school was forced to shut to most students after travellers set up camp in the car park.

Shenley Academy in Birmingham said it was closed to all Year 7, 8, 9 and 10 pupils after travellers ignored an eviction notice issued on Saturday.

The group which officers said included 20 caravans, a horse and dogs, has since left the site.

West Midlands Police said it had helped evict the group after the city council served an immediate eviction demand.

The academy remained open to pupils in Years 11, 12 and 13 who were told to avoid using the main entrance and were escorted on to the site by police and staff.

For more on this story and other Birmingham news

School principal Lucy Monk said of the partial closure: "I recognise that this situation is detrimental to the education of our students, and it is certainly not a decision which has been taken lightly."

Image copyright West Midlands Police
Image caption The travellers arrived at the site on Friday afternoon

Mrs Monk said in a statement later, the travellers had left the site and all students could return to school on Tuesday.

They left behind a horse, which was tied to the school fence.

The school is looking after it at the moment but it will go to the RSPCA if it is not reclaimed.

'More sites'

Margaret, from the group of travellers, told the BBC more traveller sites were needed.

"If there were more sites this wouldn't happen, she said. "There's going to be an awful lot more of this up until summer until the kids break up from school."

"There's no uproar about these children [from travelling community] not going to school or not having a home for themselves to live in," she added.

However, local police sergeant Dave Cotter said the travellers' behaviour was "totally unacceptable" and had caused huge disruption.

Image caption The travellers left their horse behind
Image caption Margaret and James from the traveller group said more sites for them were needed

"The group ignored a notice to leave, which gave them 24 hours to move on, and in the end we were left with no option but to force them to leave the school grounds," he said.

Image caption The travellers are believed to have moved to a site in Kings Norton, Birmingham

Meanwhile, the travellers are believed to have moved on to a site in Kings Norton.

A resident told the BBC they had been evicted from the same place two weeks ago.

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