Police probe after teacher admits assault on pupil

Police have launched an investigation after a teacher admitted assaulting a pupil in a classroom at one of the country's top public schools, the school confirmed today.

History teacher Peter Metcalfe was initially suspended and the police informed after he stood on the boy's foot "with his full weight" during a lesson at prestigious Winchester College in Hampshire.

But after the pupil complained to the headmaster, Mr Metcalfe, 57, admitted the incident and handed in his resignation.

The incident follows Mr Metcalfe, who has now left the £27,405-a-year school, being cleared of child cruelty charges in 2004.

He had been charged with alleged cruelty and bullying against three children between 1991 and 1996 but the prosecution offered no evidence before a trial could begin at Winchester Crown Court, a spokesman for the school confirmed.

He was suspended during that investigation but re-instated after being cleared by the court.

The school spokesman said that the latest matter involving Mr Metcalfe had been reported to Hampshire Social Services who had informed the police and the Independent Safeguarding Authority.

He added that Mr Metcalfe admitted the incident, handed in his resignation and left the school prior to the Easter break.

The family of the boy told the police that they did not wish to press charges but a police spokesman said an inquiry was ongoing into the incident.

In a statement released by the school, the spokesman said: "Peter Metcalfe, a history teacher at Winchester College, resigned following a complaint to the headmaster by parents of a boy who asserted that Mr Metcalfe had deliberately stood on their son's foot with his full weight during a history lesson.

"On Saturday March 13, when the incident was reported, the headmaster spoke with the boy's parents and suspended Mr Metcalfe from the school immediately.

"The same evening the headmaster reported the incident to Hampshire Social Services, who in turn reported the incident to the police as is standard practice.

"The Independent Safeguarding Authority was informed on Monday March 15.

"The boy's parents subsequently told the police that they did not wish to press any charges of assault against Mr Metcalfe.

"Mr Metcalfe admitted the offence and offered the headmaster his immediate resignation, which was accepted.

"Hampshire County Council Social Services and Hampshire police have praised the school for its prompt and proper handling of the incident."

A Hampshire Police spokesman said: "The police have received a complaint of a minor assault by a teacher on a pupil at Winchester College.

"A police investigation has commenced and the college is working closely with the police to ascertain the facts surrounding this allegation."

Winchester College, a boarding school for boys aged between 13 and 18, was founded in 1382 by William of Wykeham, Bishop of Winchester, together with New College in the University of Oxford.

Its website says that as well as achieving excellent "matriculation results" it aims to "cultivate habits of disciplined organisation and clarity of thought".