Private schools offer lifeline to bullied Olympic diver
- April 24, 2009
- tom daley
After suffering bullying at school, and threats of having his 'legs broken', Olympic diver Tom Daley has been offered places by leading independents
Following reports in today's press about the Olympic diver, Tom Daley, having to leave his school because of bullying, the Headmaster of Brighton College, Richard Cairns, has offered him a full scholarship - as a weekly or full boarder. The school was praised by Ofsted inspectors who reported in January 2009 "there is no bullying at Brighton College". Plymouth College has also come forward to offer a place to the talented diver.
Tom, who is aged 14, represented Great Britain at Beijing last year, where he finished 7th in the men's 10m platform event. The young diver participates in top-level events across the globe and is hotly tipped as a medal hope for London 2012.
The bullying began when he returned to his school - Eggbuckland Community College in Plymouth - with an older boy allegedly cornering Tom and saying: "How much are those legs worth? We're going to break your legs." Tom's father, Rob Daley, decided to keep his son at home this week and said that if the bullying did not stop he would move him to a new school.
"The bullying is severe," Mr Daley told The Times. "He has been tackled to the floor walking through the school field and in class they throw pens and pencils at him. The school has had plenty of opportunities to sort it out but it hasn't been done."
Brighton College's offer was made as soon as the story broke in the press. Mr Cairns said: "I was very distressed to learn that Tom Daley has been suffering bullying as a result of his obvious talent and dedication to his sport. At Brighton College we firmly believe every child should be able to develop their potential in everything they do.
"I have invited Tom and his family to visit the school, and to consider my offer. He is just the sort of young person we welcome here."
Tom and his parents are also in discussion with Plymouth College, which is home to an elite swimming club. Its head, Dr Simon Wormleighton, comments:"We have very dedicated young people who have all the pressures of the international spotlight but at school are able to be normal pupils."
Tom will be competing in Florida next month and will make a decision on his return.
Take it further
Brighton College; tel: 01273 704200; www.brightoncollege.org.uk
Plymouth College; tel: 01752 203300; www.plymouthcollege.com/