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Friday, 31 May, 2002, 16:21 GMT 17:21 UK
Boys bailed over school staff attack
Children in playground
The boys were from a different school to the head
Two 15-year-old boys have been released on police bail after an alleged attack on a school staff.

The pupils punched and kicked the caretaker to the ground, according to the head teacher at Ysgol Gyfun Y Cymer in the Rhondda valley.

Headmaster Noel Pritchard
Noel Pritchard was treated in hospital
Noel Mr Pritchard, 47, intervened after the boys, from a different school, came onto his premises during the Wednesday lunch break, when the incident took place.

Mr Pritchard has now told parents he will employ security guards at the school.

School caretaker Graham Roberts had suffered a black eye during the incident, in which he was alleged to have been viciously attacked.

The head said he was turned on as he attempted to break up the fracas, but his injuries were not serious.

South Wales Police said the teenagers, believed to be from the local area, were also questioned about criminal damage and public order offences. Officers are continuing investigations.

Mr Pritchard, who weighs more than 15 stone, was back at his school Friday after being treated for cuts and bruises. He declined to comment further on the lunchtime attack.

National Union of Teachers' Wales secretary Gethin Lewis indicated the head acted responsibly.

"Head teachers have a responsibility to ensure all visitors behave properly," he told BBC Radio Wales.

"You have to take proper action and ensure visitors' behaviour is acceptable.

"If other people are in danger, head teachers have always got involved in escorting people off the premises."

He said the incident was indicative of society's trend toward increased violence and said he supported tighter security controls at schools.

But the NASUWT union has advised teachers not to intervene in fights involving students - especially if they are alone.

Intervention should be a last resort, though teachers have the power to intervene if pupils are in danger of harming themselves, a spokesperson said.

Mike Keating, director of education for Rhondda Cynon Taff Council, said: "Police are investigating an incident outside the school entrance.

"Two pupils who do not attend the school have been bailed by police. The education of children at the school is not affected."

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Wales's Colette Hume
"Unions have advised teachers not to intervene in fights"
Gethin Lewis, NUT Wales
"You have to take proper action"
See also:

21 Mar 02 | England
19 Mar 02 | UK Education
20 Mar 02 | UK Education
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