Upset over Welwyn Garden City school’s photo policy

PHOTOS of children with their eyes blacked out like they are victims of crime have been handed to parents by a school in a bid to protect their identities.

It is the result of a bizarre photographic policy at Applecroft School in WGC, which also bans parents from recording nativity plays and sports days. The images were issued to parents in a yearbook of their child’s time at nursery, but the teacher had blacked out every other tot’s face – in effect giving each parent a personalised set of photos.

One such snap appeared in the Daily Mail on Saturday – but the WHT has been refused permission to reproduce it.

The take-your-own-photos ban kickstarted a three-year campaign by parents and resulted in the school bringing in a 19-page photographic policy, which aimed to stop pictures being ‘misused’.

Natasha Stannard, 39, and husband George, 42, have two children at the school and said a fellow parent was handed the yearbook.

She said: “Her child can’t see who their friends are. Her little question was ‘why has my teacher drawn on my friend’s faces?’

“I was very upset and they aren’t even my children. It makes you question what has happened to that child.”

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Caroline Baynes, 44, has two children at the school and, like Mrs Stannard, agreed Applecroft was an outstanding school.

She said: “Shots of school life are always about celebratory moments. There must be other ways the school can safeguard them.”

The parents enlisted MP Grant Shapps who said he understood the dilemma facing the school.

He said: “When my own twins, who were five at the time, saw these pictures on my desk at home they were shocked and slightly frightened. They asked ‘why have those children been taken prisoner daddy?’

“The problem with the complete ban is it breeds suspicion, makes parents think there must be something specific to worry about and denies grandparents the pleasure of seeing their grandchildren grow up.

“Unfortunately the policy was taken to such an extreme it led to the eyes of children being blacked out in a manner which made it look like the kids had been taken hostage.”