Pupils are banned from Leavers' Day after car pub crawl race

Pupils at £15,000-a-year boarding school are banned from Leavers’ Day after bingeing on alcohol in ‘Grand Prix’ car pub crawl race

  • Over 20 cars and 50 sixth formers from school in Shropshire took part in event
  • The ‘tradition’ involves driving to landmarks with passengers drinking alcohol
  • Students were handed two-day exclusions, meaning they miss their Leavers’ Day
  • No one has been arrested or charged with any criminal wrongdoing, said police 

Pupils at a £15,000-a-year boarding school have been banned from Leavers’ Day after bingeing on alcohol in a ‘Grand Prix’ car pub crawl race. 

More than 20 cars and 50 sixth formers from Haberdashers’ Adams’ Grammar School in Newport, Shropshire, took part in an ‘unofficial tradition’ which involves driving to landmarks with passengers participating in an alcohol challenge. 

Whoever returns first from the race, which takes place in Telford Town Park, Lilleshall Monument and Priorslee Lake, wins a pot of money raised through entry fees.

Now the students have been handed two-day exclusions, meaning they miss their Leavers Day, and the school also said the police could be involved after the event last Wednesday.

No one has been arrested or charged with any criminal wrongdoing, said West Mercia Police, and it is understood there were non-drinking designated drivers.  

Gary Hickey, headmaster at Haberdashers’ Adams’ Grammar School in Newport, Shropshire, pictured above. Sixth formers have been handed two-day exclusions following the event

Headmaster Gary Hickey said in a letter to parents: ‘Dear parents and guardians, I am writing to you regarding recent events that have involved people in our upper sixth form, including your child.

‘Yesterday they were one of a large group of pupils who took part in a pre-planned ‘Grand Prix’ event which involved a car race around various local landmarks in Telford, during school time, and something they knowingly signed out of school to participate in. 

‘Not only is any form of unauthorised race on public roads illegal (regardless of the speed travelled), but unfortunately one of the challenges along the way involved drinking alcohol.

‘As a result, we have received today written complaints from other pupils, complaints from members of the public, and a number of the Upper Sixth who were not involved feeling very uncomfortable about even coming into school. 

‘Your son/daughter did admit they willingly and knowingly took part in this event. As a result, as we told the pupils today, they will now have a fixed-term exclusion.’

He added: ‘We know that you will share our disappointment, upset and anger about this matter and the outcome. Obviously, some pupils feel angry about this and will seek to blame the school for not allowing them in tomorrow. 

‘If they indeed want to blame anyone for this it needs to be themselves for engaging in such a reckless, selfish and totally inappropriate act that potentially could have jeopardised not only public safety, but their own too.’

The school, founded in 1656 and attended by Jeremy Corbyn’s brother, Piers, is often among the top 50 schools throughout the UK. 

Haberdashers’ Adams Grammar School, pictured above. No one has been arrested or charged with any criminal wrongdoing, said West Mercia Police

Parents choosing to board their children pay up to £15,000 a year for sixth formers.

In a statement, Mr Hickey said: ‘I am conscious that numbers and facts have become exaggerated over the weekend with the full details not being available to everyone, so I would like to take this opportunity to confirm that the activity was not part of a long-established school tradition and was not sanctioned by the school. 

‘In fact, it left many of the remaining 130 Upper Sixth pupils who chose not to take part feeling very uncomfortable about being at school on the day. The behaviour is inexcusable and the school has taken a very firm approach.

‘Following a full investigation, all 50 pupils received a two-day exclusion from school which included missing out on their Leavers Day. 

‘This is certainly not the send-off we had wanted or planned for them, especially in light of the incredibly challenging times they have had over the last 12-plus months, and we know many of their parents are as saddened as we are by what has happened and have conveyed their support for our actions.

‘Many of the pupils involved have also since expressed their remorse and sorrow for taking part in the activity and, once the exclusion has been served, we will continue to support them on their studies and their final assessments at this critical time in their school year.’

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