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'Bullying' payout without liability

THE article regarding John Carnell and alleged bullying at Harrogate grammar school reported that John "won" an out-of-court settlement of pound;6,000 from this council (TES, November 3).

In fact, the council agreed to pay the pound;6,000 without admission of liability, after very careful consideration, and particularly to save further expense and disruption to the school which continued litigation would undoubtedly have caused. This was accepted by John Carnell. Had it not been, we would have proceeded to a hearing.

Thi is a school which inspection reports have praised as "orderly and happy". Pupils commented that bullying is "a relatively minor problem overall" and the inspectors pointed out that "cases of bullying which are reported are dealt with quickly and sensitively by pastoral staff".

Bullying occurs in all schools and teachers work very hard to deal with it. Most parents know and understand that.

Cynthia Welbourn

Director of education

North Yorkshire County Council

County Hall, Northallerton

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