UK & World News
Blackpool Primary School Teachers Suspended
A headmistress and five teachers have been suspended - and a police investigation has been launched - amid claims that a child was locked in a room as a punishment.
The suspensions at Revoe Community Primary School, including head teacher Cath Woodall, came after a member of Blackpool Council's education department raised concerns following a routine visit.
The council confirmed the allegations were not of a sexual nature.
Sky News understands the investigation is focusing on how isolation has been used as a form of punishment.
A specific allegation that a child was locked in a small room as punishment for "challenging behaviour" is being investigated.
The council said it did not know how long the child was allegedly locked in the room, but that was forming part of the investigation.
It is also trying to establish whether it was an isolated incident and whether other children were also subjected to similar treatment.
Mother Veronica Varley told Sky News her son has challenging behaviour.
She said: "I just want to know if this happened to my son, because if it did he's coming out of this school."
In a letter to parents, Charlotte Clarke, the council's head of universal services and school effectiveness, wrote: "Before half-term, Blackpool Council became concerned about the professional judgement made by these staff in relation to the wellbeing of pupils when isolating them during challenging behaviour.
"This has led to six members of staff being suspended. The suspensions are a neutral act to allow a full investigation to take place as quickly as possible.
"I realise this will be concerning news and I am writing to reassure you that swift action has been taken and the priority of the council is always the wellbeing of pupils."
Councillor Sarah Riding said an experienced head and temporary staff had been drafted in, and parents were being kept up to date.
She said: "Before half-term, we were made aware of an issue at Revoe Primary School that raised concerns to us about the professional judgement made by a number of staff in relation to pupil wellbeing.
"These concerns have led to the suspension of six members of staff while a full investigation is carried out. It would not be appropriate to comment further on the nature of the investigation until it has been concluded.
"Although we have no reason to suspect any child has come to harm, this is a serious situation that needed immediate action to be taken.
"In the meantime, temporary staff have been recruited and there will be no disruption to children's learning. All parents will receive a letter explaining the current arrangements in place."
A spokesman for Lancashire Police said: "This allegation, like any allegation involving the wellbeing of young people, is being taken extremely seriously and will be thoroughly investigated as our priority is the safeguarding of young people.
"We are in the early stages of this inquiry and are working closely with the school and the local authority to establish the circumstances. No arrests have been made at this stage."
The school, on Grasmere Road, teaches children aged between two and 11 years old. It has more than 400 pupils and employs about 70 people, including teachers and support staff.