Suspended head faces inquiry into new claims

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The Independent Online

Detectives will today reveal full details of fresh allegations made against head teacher Marjorie Evans, who last week successfully cleared her name in an appeal against a conviction for slapping a pupil.

Detectives will today reveal full details of fresh allegations made against head teacher Marjorie Evans, who last week successfully cleared her name in an appeal against a conviction for slapping a pupil.

The 56-year-old, from Usk, Monmouthshire, will learn for the first time the full extent of the new set of allegations which police are investigating.

Marjorie Evans, 56, of Monmouthshire, and another teacher, Janet Bowen, are now facing claims that they were involved in "inappropriate physical and emotional handling of pupils".

The chairman of the school governors, Graham Powell, said yesterday the board felt "obliged" to suspend Mrs Evans because she was headteacher at the time of the incidents complained of. But he said: "As far as I'm concerned, the sooner she is back the better for the school and the pupils.

"I'm concerned there has been something of a concerted campaign against Mrs Evans and that certain individuals have been involved in a witch-hunt against her."

One of the new claims is that a teacher used a skipping rope to tie together a brother and sister, aged nine and 10, during a sponsored walk in the playground at the 214-pupil village school. Another claim involves the treatment of a boy who kicked a teacher and had to be "forcibly removed" by threestaff from the library.

Mr Powell said the allegations had been made by a special needs teacher, a nursery nurse and a secretary at the school. He said: "They have made these allegations of inappropriate treatment of pupils for their own reasons. But as far as I'm aware it is all hearsay."

A teacher for 35 years, Mrs Evans had been convicted of assault by a magistrate in July for hitting a disruptive boy and was given a suspended sentence. The court had heard that the boy, who has learning disabilities, became aggressive after he was banned from attending a swimming class. He claimed to have been hit by Mrs Evans.

But last Friday she was cleared at the Court of Appeal, to a jubilant response by her supporters and other teachers. The judge ruled that she had used reasonable restraint on the boy.

Mrs Evans had been suspended for 11 months while her case went through the courts.

Gethin Lewis, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers in Wales, said: "There have been a number of malicious allegations against Marjorie Evans and Janet Bowen. Marjorie Evans had hoped to get back to school as soon as possible and we are disappointed if that is at all delayed."

For legal reasons neither the name of the school nor the pupils can be identified.

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