Head cleared in slap case remains under suspension

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Union leaders reacted angrily last night to a decision to continue the suspension of the primary school head Marjorie Evans despite claims that it has been imposed illegally.

Union leaders reacted angrily last night to a decision to continue the suspension of the primary school head Marjorie Evans despite claims that it has been imposed illegally.

Mrs Evans, 54, was last week cleared on appeal of slapping a disruptive pupil at the south Wales school but has remained suspended from her post after police announced a new investigation into allegations of mistreatment.

The National Union of Teachers, which is backing the headmistress with 35 years' teaching experience, sought to persuade a special meeting of the governing body at the school, which cannot be named for legal reasons, that guidelines agreed with the local education authority were breached when the suspension was imposed.

But the two-hour meeting ended last night with the announcement that the suspension of Mrs Evans and a second teacher, Janet Bowen, would remain in place until at least the end of this month after legal advice from Monmouthshire County Council.

Speaking outside the school, Gethin Lewis, general secretary of the NUT in Wales, said: "It is a deeply disappointing decision. We have made the point that the proper procedures were not followed but it was not accepted." The union argued that both Mrs Evans and her colleague were suspended without the formal interview or opportunity to respond to the allegations that is required in national guidelines accepted by the local education authority.

Gwent police have declined to reveal details of the new allegations but they are understood to relate to four alleged incidents including a claim that two pupils were tied together with a skipping rope and that inappropriate shouting was used in the school.

Mrs Evans, whose conviction for common assault against the 10-year-old pupil was overturned at Cardiff Crown Court last Friday, said in a statement: "At no time have the police interviewed me regarding further allegations, or have these allegations been put to me.

"This last year has been a difficult and stressful year for me. Following my acquittal I thought that this nightmare would be over."

Graham Powell, the chairman of governors, who has described the new allegations as "bizarre", said the decision last night had been based on legal advice from the LEA. He said: "The decision to continue the suspension was unanimous. We would not do anything that was considered to be illegal."

A further meeting of the 10-strong governing body will be held on September 28.

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