Page last updated at 16:32 GMT, Friday, 2 May 2008 17:32 UK

School massage 'benefits pupils'

The head teacher of a Weston-super-Mare school has defended his decision to allow a masseuse in to rub the backs of teenage pupils and staff.

Neville Coles said the service offered weekly for the past three months at Priory Community school de-stressed Year 11 pupils before their exams.

Mr Coles said it was proving a positive experience for borderline grade pupils.

The school spent 150 subsidising the first massages, but now the 10 pupils are paying 5 for a 30-minute session.

I didn't actually like massages myself to be honest, but I have had one to make sure it was an appropriate service
Neville Coles, head teacher

Mr Coles said a group called the "magic 25" who are not guaranteed to get five A-C grades, approached him about having a massage after hearing that the rugby team was benefiting.

"I didn't actually like massages myself to be honest, but I have had one to make sure it was an appropriate service. It is a standard massage you'd get in any health club.

"These are 16-year-olds, Year 11 students. I have met Karen [the masseuse], and I know her qualifications. There are no risks.

"Everyone has described it as a positive experience and I think innovation is vital. We believe in doing things in a different way and our results are improving year on year.

Parental consent is required and rubdowns do not take place in lesson-time


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