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Mock Bank Raid

Volume 929: debated on Monday 4 April 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science on what date his Department received a telephone call from the hon. Member for Newham, North-West complaining of the mock bank raid in Great Yarmouth; what action she took, other than inquire into the facts and pass these on to the hon. Member for Newham, North-West in her letter of 21st March; whether she will publish this letter in the Official Report; and what action she proposes to take in the light of her inquiries.

My private office received my hon. Friend's telephone call on 16th March. My officials made immediate inquiries of Norfolk Education Authority as to the facts of the case and these were communicated to my hon. Friend in a letter sent on 21st March, which I am glad to publish in the Official Report. Any action to be taken in connection with the incident is a matter for the Norfolk Education Authority, not for the Department of Education and Science.Department of Education and Science,Elizabeth House,York Road, London SE1 7PH.

From the Secretary of State

Arthur Lewis, Esq, MP,

House of Commons,

London SW1A OAA.

21st March 1977

We spoke on the telephone about the mock bank raid in Great Yarmouth which was reported in the newspapers. I promised to let you have a brief note about the incident.

The Norfolk Education Authority have informed the Department that so far they have only received a verbal report of what took place. As part of an exhibition entitled Yarmouth 77, schools in the town had been asked to undertake projects on communication. Greenacre Junior School had chosen to compile a newspaper, with each class reporting a story. One form decided to report a bank raid and the Head Master had sought the co-operation of the Trustee Savings Bank so that a small number of still photographs could be obtained for use with the story. I understand that the Head notified the Eastern Daily Press since he thought some publicity for the exhibition might be obtained. The Eastern Daily Press did not send a reporter but notified the Great Yarmouth news agency. This resulted in the presence of two television crews and a reporter from a national daily paper. When the children, suitably disguised with stocking masks and guns, took up their positions for the photographs they wanted, the television crews allegedly said this was insufficient and encouraged them to run around and act out a raid. I understand that this was by no means the original intention of the Head Master.

I am informed that the incident will be reported to the County's Schools Sub-Committee and discussed by them next week.

G. T. E. Grant, Private Secretary.