I cannot stand the bullying any longer, says diver Tom

Parents keep teenage star away from school after boy threatens to 'break his legs'

Tom Daley, the teenage diver tipped to win gold for Great Britain at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, has been the victim of a bullying campaign so severe his parents may be forced to move him to a new school.

Daley, 14, caused a sensation when he was picked as the youngest member of Team GB at last summer's Beijing Games. He has paid for his public profile, however, with relentless taunts and intimidation from other children at Eggbuckland Community College in Plymouth. He has been kept away from school since before Easter after another boy threatened to break his legs. Daley, who finished seventh in the men's 10m platform at the Olympics, also faces constant name-calling and jibes such as "Speedo boy".

Speaking to The Independent before he flew to the US for a training camp, Daley said: "Since I got back from the Olympics, people have been taking the mickey and it has escalated to levels I just can't stand any more. Fair enough, I expect mickey-taking and I'm not precious about what I do. But it has got worse and worse: people chucking stuff at me on a daily basis, emptying my pencil case on the floor for the hell of it.

"If I have to stand up in class for any reason, I get called names and made to look stupid. It makes me not want to go to school any more. It has got to the stage where I can't go to school and be normal. I don't think my diving has been affected but then again if I go to training in a bad mood, perhaps it has." Daley, who will be 15 next month and is in the first year of his GCSE studies, was interviewed for work experience at BBC Plymouth yesterday. In an interview with this newspaper last year, he said he hoped to become a children's television presenter when his diving career was over – an ambition he reaffirmed yesterday. Daley said the interview went well and he would return to the studios for a work placement on 1 June.

Daley's father, Robert, who gave up a job making electrical machinery to take his son to diving competitions around the world, said Tom might be forced to leave Eggbuckland. "I have been working with the school trying to resolve it and, in an ideal world, it stops," he said, adding that he was considering other options for Tom, such as a transfer to a school where sport was central to the curriculum.

"The bullying has been unacceptable," he said. "It has been name-calling, piss-taking; everyone is doing it. Since Tom came back [from the Olympics], it has snowballed and he is fed up with it. He can only tolerate so much. As a responsible parent, I have to look at other options and that's what I'm doing. Any parent would do the same thing. You don't see your kid hurting and turn your back. It's starting to affect his home life. He has lost his bubble and we've got to sort it out."

Daley, who has been diving since he was seven and trains for 30 hours a week in addition to his school work, has been feted in public since he returned from China. He switched on Plymouth's Christmas lights last year, attended film premieres in London and the Royal Variety Show.

Katrina Borowski, the principal at Eggbuckland, said: "Tom's extremely high profile has led to a minority of students acting in an immature way towards him." She said certain pupils had been "sanctioned" as a result.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: Human Resources Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This company provides global satellite communi...

Austen Lloyd: Practice / HR Manager - Somerset

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: A rare and exciting opportunity for a Practice...

Ashdown Group: HR Executive

£20000 - £23000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: An exciting opportunity...

Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher

£150 - £180 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: A mainstream Secondary school in C...

Day In a Page

A Very British Coup, part two: New novel in pipeline as Jeremy Corbyn's rise inspires sequel

A Very British Coup, part two

New novel in pipeline as Jeremy Corbyn's rise inspires sequel
Philae lander data show comets could have brought 'building blocks of life' to Earth

Philae lander data show comets could have brought 'building blocks of life' to Earth

Icy dust layer holds organic compounds similar to those found in living organisms
What turns someone into a conspiracy theorist? Study to look at why some are more 'receptive' to such theories

What turns someone into a conspiracy theorist?

Study to look at why some are more 'receptive' to such theories
Chinese web dissenters using coded language to dodge censorship filters and vent frustration at government

Are you a 50-center?

Decoding the Chinese web dissenters
The Beatles film Help, released 50 years ago, signalled the birth of the 'metrosexual' man

Help signalled birth of 'metrosexual' man

The Beatles' moptop haircuts and dandified fashion introduced a new style for the modern Englishman, says Martin King
Hollywood's new diet: Has LA stolen New York's crown as the ultimate foodie trend-setter?

Hollywood's new diet trends

Has LA stolen New York's crown as the ultimate foodie trend-setter?
6 best recipe files

6 best recipe files

Get organised like a Bake Off champion and put all your show-stopping recipes in one place
Ashes 2015: Steven Finn goes from being unselectable to simply unplayable

Finn goes from being unselectable to simply unplayable

Middlesex bowler claims Ashes hat-trick of Clarke, Voges and Marsh
Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... for the fourth time

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... again

I was once told that intelligence services declare their enemies dead to provoke them into popping up their heads and revealing their location, says Robert Fisk
Margaret Attwood on climate change: 'Time is running out for our fragile, Goldilocks planet'

Margaret Atwood on climate change

The author looks back on what she wrote about oil in 2009, and reflects on how the conversation has changed in a mere six years
New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered: What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week

New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered

What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week
Oculus Rift and the lonely cartoon hedgehog who could become the first ever virtual reality movie star

The cartoon hedgehog leading the way into a whole new reality

Virtual reality is the 'next chapter' of entertainment. Tim Walker gives it a try
Ants have unique ability to switch between individual and collective action, says study

Secrets of ants' teamwork revealed

The insects have an almost unique ability to switch between individual and collective action
Donovan interview: The singer is releasing a greatest hits album to mark his 50th year in folk

Donovan marks his 50th year in folk

The singer tells Nick Duerden about receiving death threats, why the world is 'mentally ill', and how he can write a song about anything, from ecology to crumpets
Let's Race simulator: Ultra-realistic technology recreates thrill of the Formula One circuit

Simulator recreates thrill of F1 circuit

Rory Buckeridge gets behind the wheel and explains how it works