Head resigns at asthma death school

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The Independent Online

A head teacher has resigned after a schoolboy died from an asthma attack he suffered at school, a council said today

Eleven-year-old Sam Linton was left in a corridor struggling to breathe at Offerton High School in Stockport, Cheshire, in December 2007.

Evelyn Leslie has quit her job as head of the school, before she was due to meet a disciplinary panel.

She was suspended in March, along with four other members of staff, after an inquest found their actions "significantly contributed" to Sam's death.

Staff failed to call an ambulance and the youngster's lips had turned blue by the time his mother Karen arrived, the inquest heard. Sam later died in hospital.

The other suspended staff members have kept their jobs, including first aider Deborah Bouckley, who was sacked but later reinstated after an appeal.

Janet Ford, the teacher who was supervising Sam when he became ill, and two student services assistants received formal warnings.

A spokesman for Stockport Council said: "The staff concerned have been through due process and, apart from the head teacher Ms Evelyn Leslie, are now back at school.

"During the formal process, the head teacher chose to offer her resignation, with effect from 31st December 2010, to the governing body and this has been accepted.

"We again offer our sincere condolences to the family."

Sam's parents Karen and Paul Linton were "extremely distressed" by how long it took the school to investigate their son's death, their lawyer said today.

Jonathan Betts, of the law firm Irwin Mitchell, said the family needed to know this tragedy would never happen again.

"Every headteacher and every governor in every school should look at this case and take every possible step to make sure everyone in the school is aware, through basic guidance, of the potential dangers of asthma to ensure a tragedy like this can never happen again.

"That is now the most important thing for Mr and Mrs Linton - nothing can bring Sam back but they are determined to stop this happening to any other parent.

"All that is needed is a simple policy that tells teachers that if any child has an asthma attack in school and is not showing signs of improvement within 5-10 minutes, then an ambulance should be called."