Head stoned by vandals

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The Independent Online
A primary head teacher has told how she was stoned and taunted after she and two colleagues identified youths who broke into a car in the school car park.

Judith Elderkin, head of Marlborough school in Salford, a delegate at the National Union of Teachers conference, said the local authority had put a 24-hour security guard on the school at a cost of pounds 1800 a week after a series of acts of vandalism.

She also described how her school was torched on Sunday night and the nursery and infant block badly damaged. Around 100 four-to-seven-year- olds will be without their classroom when they return to school next term.

Mrs Elderkin said that shortly after the car park incident 39 high level windows were smashed at the weekend, showering the school with glass.

"We were worried and frightened about reprisals. That was confirmed when I was walking past the school and was showered with a hail of stones by boys sitting on the roof. It began to dawn on me that we were all at risk."

Both she and the security guards had also been taunted and called a grass.

The break-in to a staff member's car in the car park happened about six weeks ago. Arrests have been made.

She said: "It is difficult when you work on a day to day basis of providing a stress-free atmosphere for pupils and children. We know that school should be a safe haven for children and may be a better environment than many have elsewhere."

Doug McAvoy, the union's general secretary, said the 480-pupil school had no perimeter fence, eight gates and 15 entrances. The union, which is represented on the Government's working party on school security set up after the death of headmaster Philip Lawrence, is pressing for more resources to improve fencing and liaison with police.

He said: "Most schools are secure places but there is no room for complacency."