Six primary school staff suspended

Revoe Community Primary School, Blackpool

Revoe Community Primary School, Blackpool

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SIX members of staff – including the headteacher – have been suspended from a Blackpool primary school amid allegations over the care of pupils.

An investigation has been launched by police and Blackpool Council after it was claimed a child had been placed in a room – described by one parent as “a cupboard” – at Revoe Community Primary.

Headteacher Cath Woodall is among those suspended from their posts at the school on Grasmere Road.

Council chiefs have moved to reassure parents by saying they “have no reason to suspect any child has come to harm”.

Neil Hodgkins, headteacher at Devonshire Primary School, and Sandra Hall, headteacher at St John’s
Primary School, have now been drafted in to run the school.

Coun Sarah Riding, cabinet member for education and schools on Blackpool Council, said: “Before half-term we were made aware of an issue at Revoe Primary School that raised concerns to us about the professional judgement made by a number of staff in relation to pupil wellbeing.

“These concerns have led to the suspension of six members of staff while a full investigation is carried out.

“It would not be appropriate to comment further on the nature of the investigation until it has been concluded.

“Although we have no reason to suspect any child has come to harm, this is a serious situation that needed immediate action to be taken.

“In the meantime, temporary staff have been recruited and there will be no disruption to children’s learning.

“All parents will receive a letter explaining the current arrangements in place.”

A letter sent out to parents says the concerns centre on “the professional judgement” of staff in relation to pupils “when isolating them during challenging behaviour”.

It adds “swift action has been taken and the priority of the council is always the well-being of pupils”.

The letter adds “there will be no disruption to your child’s learning”.

Lancashire Police said the allegations were not of a 
sexual nature or involving physical abuse.

A police spokeswoman said: “This allegation, like any allegation involving the well-being of young people, is being taken extremely seriously and will be thoroughly investigated as our priority is the safeguarding of young people.

“We are in the early stages of this inquiry and are working closely with the school and the local authority to establish the circumstances.

“No arrests have been made at this stage.”

Parents of children at the school have reacted with shock at the suspensions.

Mark Syme, 30, of Lune Grove, Blackpool, has three children at Revoe and used to be a school governor.

He said: “I am gob-smacked.

“I’ve been told they’ve locked a child in a cupboard.

“I’m still happy for my kids to be there because it’s a fantastic school, but I’m glad this action has been taken.”

Natalie Raynor, 43, also of Lune Grove, said: “I was shocked because it’s six members of staff. I have a daughter there. To have six at once is very odd.”

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.”

Luke Carter, 40, from central Blackpool, who has daughter at the school, added: “It’s always been a good school but this has worried me.”

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