Head teacher suspended after knife-wielding pupil put in isolation room to cool down

Head teacher Cath Woodall, 51, who was not on duty at the time, is among those being questioned by police after the nine-year-old boy made threats against teachers and pupils. This is from the Telegraph…

The boy was confronted by school staff after he took a knife from the kitchen area of Revoe Primary School in Blackpool, Lancashire.

A teacher blocked the boy’s path through the school and he started to kick out at her. The staff member then put the boy in a restraining hold approved for use by police officers.

Finally he was placed in a small room with a glass window to try and calm him down. One teacher stood outside for forty minutes before the boy calmed down sufficiently.

However parents of children at the central Blackpool school were told the “professional judgment” of the six employees had been questioned when “isolating them during challenging behaviour”.

Blackpool Council and Lancashire Police have launched an inquiry, although the council said it did not believe any child had come to harm.

It is understood the alarm was raised after one parent said the room was the size of a cupboard.

In a letter to parents, Charlotte Clarke, the council’s head of universal services and school effectiveness, wrote: “Before half-term Blackpool Council became concerned about the professional judgment made by these staff in relation to the well-being of pupils when isolating them during challenging behaviour.

“This has led to six members of staff being suspended. The suspensions are a neutral act to allow a full investigation to take place as quickly as possible.”

One member of staff not suspended defended the actions of the teachers, saying they had few options when confronted with the knife.

“The issue is one of false imprisonment of a nine year old … because the door on the small calming down room is lockable,” the teacher said.

“This boy had really lost it and he had taken a knife from the kitchen. What were the staff supposed to do?”

Parents were bewildered by the number of teachers suspended.

Nicola Pearce, 46, from Mereside, who has one daughter at the school, said: “When I had a look at the letter I couldn’t believe it.

“One member of staff being suspended is bad enough but six is shocking.

“I hope it’s not going to affect my child.”

A temporary head teacher had been drafted into the 489 pupil school while the investigation continues.

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