Parents and pupils hit out at school’s decision to cancel sporting fixtures during school hours in a bid to boost exam results.

Parents and pupils have reacted angrily to a decision by Chulmleigh Academy Trust to cancel sporting fixtures during school time.

The school said it had stopped ‘away’ fixtures for year 10 and 11 GCSE students in a bid to boost exam results.

But some parents have described the decision as ‘short sighted’, including mum Julie Clark, who wrote to the school to express her concern.

She said: “My son is a very keen and competitive sportsman, who undertakes numerous sports at district and county level. He has also represented Chulmleigh on many occasions and was proud to do so.

“Sport is a great confidence, esteem and character builder. It also empowers and improves academic achievement.”

Year 10 pupil Leoni Bishop, said she and her friends were ‘devastated’ by the decision.

“Our netball team has been completely taken out the league – there are no fixtures now,” said Leoni, who also represents North Devon at athletics and Devon at badminton. “I always do catch-up work if I miss a lesson due to sport.

“I could understand if we were underachieving academically, but we are not.”

Mum Amanda Bishop, from High Bickington, said: “Leoni is sports mad but does very well academically. Sport helps pupils to focus.”

Executive headteacher Michael Johnson said: “We are looking at our timetable and I will be speaking to other headteachers about how we arrange the fixtures and the timetables in the future.”