Page last updated at 19:35 GMT, Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Wiltshire hammer attack mother to meet PM

Henry Webster
Mr Webster was aged 15 at the time of the attack in 2007

The mother of Henry Webster - the Wiltshire teenager left brain damaged after being attacked with a hammer in 2007 has met the prime minister.

Last month, Mr Webster, now 19, lost a High Court battle to win compensation from Ridgeway School, Wroughton.

His mother, Liz, said she raised her concerns with Gordon Brown over the way some schools are run.

She said: "I think there's a general lack of accountability...who checks they're adhering to safety standards?"

Speaking after her meeting with Gordon Brown, Mrs Webster said: "He was very sympathetic and appreciated we've been through a really tough time over the last three years.

I pointed out to him that I'd prefer Henry to come out with no GCSEs, but no head injury
Liz Webster, mother

"We discussed issues around foundation status and how it's difficult for authorities to intervene in a foundation school, if academically they're doing quite well, but behaviour is an issue.

"I pointed out to him that I'd prefer Henry to come out with no GCSEs, but no head injury.

"A civil servant was sitting there taking notes which will be fed back to Ed Balls - they said they'd look at it further and get back in touch with us."

Mrs Webster said she was driven to make sure nothing like the attack on her son ever happened again.

"We have succeeded in that the next time a child is hurt at school there will be an immediate serious case review which didn't happen with Henry. That in itself is an achievement," she added.

Skull fractures

A serious case review is currently underway into what happened to Henry Webster. Its findings are expected to be published later this year.

At the age of 15 he was punched, kicked and hit with a claw hammer by a group of Asian pupils and young men on the school's tennis courts.

He suffered three skull fractures.

His legal team argued there was a negligent failure by the school to maintain proper discipline and deal with racial tension.

But in his ruling, Mr Justice Nicol said the school did not breach its duty to take reasonable care over keeping Mr Webster reasonably safe while on its premises.

Thirteen people, including teenagers, were convicted in 2008 of being involved in the attack and given sentences ranging from eight months to eight years.

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