Head teacher and five staff suspended for locking a knife-wielding nine-year-old pupil in the 'naughty cupboard'Child carried blade taken from the kitchen at Revoe Primary in BlackpoolHe was disarmed and put in a lockable 'naughty cupboard' to calm downStaff suspended and police investigating false imprisonment
12:51 GMT, 26 February 2013
14:59 GMT, 26 February 2013
Fury has erupted at a primary school because its headteacher and five others have been suspended after they disarmed a knife-wielding child and shut him in a 'naughty cupboard'.
Teachers placed the nine-year-old in a lockable room after he terrorised staff and fellow pupils with a blade he took from the kitchen at Revoe Primary School in Blackpool.
But police have been called in to investigate allegations of false imprisonment and the six staff, including the head, have been banned from returning because the boy's parents complained.
There are also concerns from the local council that staff had sent other pupils to the box room whenever they misbehaved in class.
Incident: Six staff including the head at Revoe Primary School in Blackpool have been suspended after a boy, nine, wielded a knife
The pupil had taken the knife from the kitchen area and was confronted by head Cath Woodall on a school corridor.
She blocked the boy's path through the school and he started to kick out at her.
Other senior members of staff at the town centre school then put the boy in a Home Office approved hold.
He was placed in the small room with a glass window to try and calm him down, known as the 'naughty cupboard'.
However, a complaint has been made and the local education authority called in police to investigate.
The head and other staff have been suspended pending the outcome of the investigation and have been formally interviewed by detectives.
Blackpool Council informed parents about what had happened in a letter sent out yesterday.
One member of staff, who has not been suspended, said: 'The issue is one of false imprisonment of a nine year old…..because the door on the small calming down room is lockable.
'This boy had really lost it and he had taken a knife from the kitchen.What were the staff supposed to do '
In 2010 Miss Woodall picked up a top advisory and support role under the Associate Head Teacher Programme is run by the National College for Leadership in schools which enables her to oversee headships in other 'challenging' schools.
Target: Blackpool council say the staff were taken out of school as they are investigating their 'professional judgment', but the decision has caused outrage
Parents of children at the school are shocked at the suspensions.
Mark Syme, 30, has three children at Revoe and used to be a school governor, said he was 'gobsmacked'.
Nicola Pearce, 46, who has one daughter at the school,
said: 'When I had a look at the letter I couldn’t believe it. One member of staff being suspended is bad enough but six is shocking.
Luke Carter, 40, from central Blackpool, who has daughter at the school,
added: 'It’s always been a good school but this has worried me.'
A replacement head and teachers have been sent to the school to cover for the missing staff.
A spokesman for Blackpool Council said the issue centered on the 'professional judgement' of school staff involved.
Sarah Riding, cabinet member for education and schools on Blackpool
Council, 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.'
Police added: 'This allegation, like any allegation involving the
well-being of young people, is being taken extremely seriously and will
be thoroughly investigated as our priority is the safeguarding of young
'No arrests have been made at this stage.'
The probe began months after the 489 pupil school was at the centre of a row over proposals to convert it into an academy.
Miss Woodall began consulting with parents and governors on the possibility of breaking away from council control and becoming an independent facility.
But the move angered union officials and parents, who gathered outside the school gates to voice their disapproval over the proposed move.