Inquiry set up after boy killed by train while on school trip

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The Independent Online

An inquiry is being carried out into the death of a 15-year-old boy with learning difficulties who was hit by a 110mph train on a school trip.

An inquiry is being carried out into the death of a 15-year-old boy with learning difficulties who was hit by a 110mph train on a school trip.

The boy, from Hay Lane special school in Brent, north-west London, was under the supervision by school staff when he is believed to have run off the platform at Kenton railway station.

British Transport Police believe the boy, who had not been formally identified yesterday because of the extensive injuries, may have been knocked into the path of another train.

Six pupils from the secondary school, which handles a range of learning disabilities, were on a day trip with three adults, a teacher, a welfare assistant and a classroom assistant with a teaching qualification from another country.

A statement from the school and Brent council said last night: "Hay Lane is a grieving school. Our thoughts and sympathies are with this particular child and his family at this time." The council, which is conducting the inquiry, said the boy had severe learning difficulties and teachers said he had a history of running away.

The incident has inflamed a row over health and safety standards in Brent schools between teachers' leaders and the authority. The local branch of the National Union of Teachers has passed an emergency motion criticising the authority for delegating health and safety money to schools which have to buy into the council service for inspection arrangements and safety training.

Originally, the money was held centrally so schools in need could get extra resources. The NUT statement said the new arrangement "had led to cash-strapped schools being unable to make regulatory inspections" of their health and safety arrangements. The union accused the authority of operating an inadequate health and safety regime. Its statement expressed concerns that "as with other inquiries, individuals at the bottom will be scapegoated". It wants the investigation to find whether the council's service was properly administered.

Police are still investigating and an inquest will be held. A spokesman for British Transport Police said the boy was hit by the 1pm Euston-to-Liverpool train last Thursday. "The accident happened about a third of a mile south from Kenton station,'' he added. The driver applied the emergency brake but was unable to stop in time.

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