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The BBC's Wyre Davies
"Marjorie Evans says she fully intends to return to school"
 real 56k

Marjorie Evans
"I am obviously euphoric"
 real 56k

Friday, 16 March, 2001, 15:03 GMT
Head cleared of mistreating pupils
marjorie evans
Mrs Evans leaving the hearing: "Delighted"
Head teacher Marjorie Evans has said she is "euphoric" after school governors decided there was "no credible evidence" to support allegations that she had mistreated pupils.

The whole period has been extraordinarily distressing. I've missed being at school, seeing my staff and seeing my children

Marjorie Evans
The governors finally reached their decision in the small hours of Friday - having started their disciplinary hearing in Cwmbran, south Wales, on Tuesday.

They had heard from 22 witnesses about alleged physical abuse of children at St Mary's Junior School in Caldicot.

Mrs Evans, 56, was convicted by magistrates of hitting one pupil last July but cleared on appeal in September.

St Marys' Primary School
Mrs Evans wants to return to St Mary's School in Caldicot
When in December she announced her intention to return to her post, Monmouthshire education authority and the school governors threatened her with further suspension if she "set foot in the school".

Nine fresh claims of mistreatment were to emerge which, the High Court heard, consisted mainly of "shouting loudly at pupils".

The Crown Prosecution Service decided not to take any further action but the governors at the school decided to hold the internal disciplinary hearing.

'No credible evidence'

After the hearing ended on Friday, the three governors on the panel emerged with Mrs Evans.

rob gibbs
Rob Gibbs: "Nothing to support the allegations"
Their chairman, Rob Gibbs, said: "The governors have considered all the evidence and have found no credible evidence to support these allegations."

They will now take their decision to a full governors' meeting at the school on Friday evening, after which they say there will be a fuller statement.

Mrs Evans said: "I'm absolutely delighted - but please can I go home to bed."

In a statement issued through the National Union of Teachers, which has backed her throughout, she said: "I'm euphoric. I'm lost for words.

It should not have taken this long to get a good head teacher back into her own school

Union leader Doug McAvoy
"I'm absolutely delighted that the 18 months of stress and pain that I've endured are now over.

"The whole period has been extraordinarily distressing. I've missed being at school, seeing my staff and seeing my children.

"I can't wait to get back, although it certainly won't be today - I'm very tired."

'The right decision'

One of the governors at the school, Mary Heron, said they had acted on legal advice from the education authority in holding the disciplinary hearing.

She said: "I am absolutely delighted with the outcome. I think it is the right decision.

"It has been a long time coming and we will be pleased to see Marge back in school as soon as possible."

Last week, the NUT brought a High Court legal action against Monmouthshire County Council and governors at the school, accusing them of not having used the proper disciplinary rules and procedures.

Mrs Justice Bracewell ruled in their favour and ordered the governors to draw up a new set of rules which were put in place ahead of the disciplinary hearing.

'Better way needed'

The general secretary of the NUT, Doug McAvoy, said: "This has been an extraordinarily drawn-out process.

"Marjorie was cleared by the High Court. She has now been cleared by a disciplinary panel.

"It should not have taken this long to get a good head teacher back into her own school.

"There has to be a better way of dealing with allegations made against teachers than a process that lasts 18 months and results in the exoneration we knew would always come.

"I'm delighted for Marjorie and for the children at her school."

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