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Friday, 13 April, 2001, 15:08 GMT 16:08 UK
Head to speak out on pupil restraint
Suspended headteacher Marjorie Evans
Marjorie Evans will speak on malicious allegations
Headteacher Marjorie Evans is expected to give an emotional speech at this weekend's NUT union conference in Cardiff.

The key conference issues focus on teacher workloads, overtime payments and concerns that the National Curriculum is failing the pupils that are most in need of help.

NUT logo
The NUT want a change to disclipline procedures
Headteachers in Wales are calling for the Welsh Assembly to start a radical shake-up of the curriculum.

NUT members believe that current reforms do not go far enough.

One of the highlights of the conference is expected to be a speech by 56-year-old Mrs Evans.

The Monmouthshire headteacher attended an adjournment debate earlier this week in the Commons tabled by Monmouth MP Huw Edwards on the implications of her 18-month long suspension.

Mrs Evans is due to speak on a motion by NUT Cardiff branch on malicious allegations made against teachers.

She will add her voice to establishing nationally agreed procedures on the issue.

Teachers outside magistrates court
Mrs Evans won the support of parents and colleagues
Welsh Education Minister Jane Davidson, Assembly First Minister Rhodri Morgan and Plaid Cymru AM for Conwy Gareth Jones will also be among the conference speakers.

But the issue of pupil restraint - which was at the centre of Mrs Evans's case - is likely to cause some of the most intense debate of the weekend.

The government has pledged to speed up investigations into abuse claims against teachers.

Huw Edwards told the Commons this week that he believed only those teachers facing serious sexual or physical charges should be automatically suspended during investigation.

Membership boost

NUT Cymru has staunchly backed the Monmouthshire headteacher throughout her ordeal and celebrated in her triumph at returning to work at St Mary's School, Caldicot, Monmouthshire, last month.

The victory was also claimed to have triggered a boost in union membership.

Mrs Evans was suspended in September 1999 following allegations that she had slapped a 10-year-old pupil.

She was found guilty by Abergavenny magistrates - and given a three-month suspended prison sentence - but was later cleared on appeal at Cardiff Crown Court.

But as she spoke of her intention to return to work, Gwent Police announced they were investigating further allegations against her of pupil mistreatment.

Mrs Evans went on to seek a judicial review at the High Court after governors refused to lift her suspension.

The governors finally agreed to lift the suspension and allow Mrs Evans to return to work last month.

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See also:

16 Mar 01 | Education
Inquiry into head's suspension ordeal
16 Mar 01 | Education
Head cleared of mistreating pupils
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