Head quits after second 'touching' allegation: Teacher reinstated after suspension could sue after new claim by parent

A HEADTEACHER who was suspended and reinstated after sitting a five-year-old girl on his knee has resigned after fresh allegations were made about him.

Richard Connor, headteacher of Alderley Edge Primary School in Cheshire, successfully appealed against his governors' decision to dismiss him.

He returned to school last week after a six-month suspension but on his first day back a parent made a fresh allegation that he had touched a child in an inappropriate manner.

Last night the local authority, Cheshire County Council, said that their inquiry into Mr Connor's conduct would not be continuing after his decision to resign.

A spokeswoman for the authority said that he would not return to his job, and that the school's governors would begin the process of appointing another headteacher. She added: 'It is in everyone's interests that the school should now return to normal as quickly as possible.'

The case was unusual because in addition to being given a final warning before being allowed to return, Mr Connor was instructed not to touch any child and not to teach any class until a school policy on 'appropriate touching' had been drawn up. He was also told that he must not take any groups of pupils for lessons outside the classroom or conduct assemblies on his own.

The dispute began six months ago when Mr Connor, who had been at the school for 11 years, comforted a child who became upset in assembly by putting her on his knee.

The school's governors suspended him, and told parents in a letter that he had 'failed to appreciate and acknowledge the perception which pupils had of these actions and contacts'. As a result, they said, they no longer had trust or confidence in him. However, an appeal panel reinstated him, adding a list of conditions to its decision. The panel, which was made up of governors from other schools not involved in the recommendation to dismiss Mr Connor, agreed that he had acted inappropriately, but decided it still had confidence in his abilities as a headteacher.

The day after Mr Connor returned to school last Monday, a parent made fresh allegations against him, which he strongly denied. His solicitor said he was considering legal action for defamation. Since then he has been on sick leave, suffering from stress.

Pressure for him to resign increased this week when staff at the school wrote to the local authority saying that they had no confidence in him and that he should go. At the same time, parents who supported Mr Connor set up a petition to have him reinstated. They said he had been 'hounded out by political correctness' and that the new allegation had only increased sympathy for him.

The row has heightened the fears of teachers' organisations, which say that under the Children Act, allegations made by pupils against school staff can be blown out of proportion. In more than one case, such allegations have later proved to be false.

Last night Nigel de Gruchy, general secretary of the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers, Mr Connor's union, said the case was 'very alarming'.

'The police have studied all the evidence and they have neither prosecuted a case against him or cautioned him, and yet he has been forced to resign. If the allegations had been provable, presumably a case would have been brought forward,' he said.

Sport
Club legend Paul Scholes is scared United could disappear into 'the wilderness'
football
News
A model of a Neanderthal man on display at the National Museum of Prehistory in Dordogne, France
science
News
Dawkins: 'There’s a very interesting reason why a prince could not turn into a frog – it's statistically too improbable'
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Travel
Dinosaurs Unleashed at the Eden Project
travel
Arts and Entertainment
music
Sport
football
Life and Style
This month marks the 20th anniversary of the first online sale
techDespite a host of other online auction sites and fierce competition from Amazon, eBay is still the most popular e-commerce site in the UK
News
i100
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Quantitative Analyst (Financial Services, Graduate, SQL, VBA)

£45000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Quantitative Analyst (Financial Services, ...

Application Support Engineer (C++, .NET, VB, Perl, Bash, SQL)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Application Support Engineer (C++, .NET, VB, Per...

C# .NET Software Developer (Client-Side, SQL, VB6, WinForms)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: C# .NET Software Developer (Client-Side, SQL, VB...

C# Developer (Genetic Algorithms, .NET 4.5, TDD, SQL, AI)

£40000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home