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The BBC's Jon Brain
"Marjorie Evans will spend the next few days savouring her victory"
 real 56k

Marjorie Evans
"I am obviously euphoric"
 real 56k

Friday, 16 March, 2001, 13:16 GMT
Inquiry into head's suspension ordeal
Marjorie Evans
A 'euphoric' Marjorie Evans
Welsh Assembly Education Minister Jane Davidson has ordered an investigation into the ordeal of head teacher Marjorie Evans who has been cleared of pupil mistreatment allegations.

Following a three-day disciplinary hearing which finally ended at 0500GMT on Friday, the Monmouthshire teacher was told that school governors had decided there was no "credible evidence" to support any accusations.


Someone described it as a witch hunt and I don't think there are any other words you could use

Ex-school governor Graham Powell

The decision brings to and end an 18-month suspension for 56-year-old Mrs Evans who was convicted by magistrates of hitting one pupil last July but cleared on appeal in September.

Now Jane Davidson has asked for details of events and procedures to see if they can be improved upon for future cases.

Just hours earlier, speaking outside the hearing in Cwmbran, south east Wales, Mrs Evans said she was "euphoric" at the outcome.

It is not yet clear if she will resume her post at St Mary's Junior School in Caldicot, on Monday.

St Mary¿s' Primary School
Mrs Evans wants to return to St Mary's School in Caldicot

After being cleared of assaulting a pupil - for which she was originally given a suspended jail term - Mrs Evans had intended to return to work in December last year.

It was then that Monmouthshire Education Authority and her school governors threatened her with further suspension if she "set foot in the school".

They claimed that fresh claims of mistreatment of pupils.

At a press conference on Friday it emerged that those claims consisted of slapping two other children, kicking another boy and "inappropriately shouting and berating children".

A police report had been compiled but the Crown Prosecution Service decided not to take any further action.

The school governors, however, decided to hold an internal disciplinary hearing.


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

Marjorie Evans

The National Union of Teachers - which has backed Mrs Evans throughout - complained that no details of any accusations had been made available and last week it brought a High Court legal action.

The union accused Monmouthshire County Council and governors at the school, 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.

In a statement issued through the National Union of Teachers, Mrs Evans said: "I'm euphoric. I'm lost for words.

"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.

Welsh Education Minister Jane Davidson
Inquiry: Education Minister Jane Davidson

The reaction from Graham Powell, former school governor and staunch supporter of the headteacher, was more acerbic.

He said: "I don't think the education authority have done their job as they should have.

"Someone described it as a witch hunt and I don't think there are any other words you could use."

The general secretary of the NUT, Doug McAvoy, described the actions of the education authority and the governors as a "mixture of vendetta and incompetence".

"I have expressed complete confidence in Marjorie Evans since her ordeal began 18 months ago...

"The actions of the LEA and the governors are a mixture of vendetta and incompetence. It is appalling that Marjorie Evans has had to suffer for so long.

"The case of Marjorie Evans sends a warning to every teacher in Wales and England. The NUT will support members and seek to protect them from such agony.

"The case of Marjorie Evans sends a warning to every teacher in Wales and England. The NUT will support members and seek to protect them from such agony."

And NUT senior solicitor Graham Clayton said has warned that the case was not over as the union was considering seeking compensation.

"We will want to see those who are responsible called to account," he said.

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16 Mar 01 | Education
Head cleared of mistreating pupils
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