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Ghostly urchin dodges inspectors

Phantom footsteps have been heard echoing in an empty corridor of a Yorkshire school, and the ghostly figure of an urchin has been spotted in the library.

Library staff at Spen Valley High school, Liversedge, near Dewsbury, claim to have seen a boy wearing knee-length trousers -who walks into the room and then disappears - on four occasions in the past few weeks. Teachers in the classroom above the library have said they sometimes experience an odd, chilly sensation in the room.

Staff fear that these apparitions of Christmas past could be portents of an even more fearful spectre to come . . . the Office For Standards in Education is due to visit soon.

Deputy head Eddie Needham is "keeping an open mind" about his present, ghostly visitor, but is happy that the library is proving such an attraction to his pupils.

"There's only standing room in there at the moment," he said. "It has also stimulated interest in local history, and a number of pupils have been investigating the past of the school site."

The school was opened in 1993, and stories of paranormal activities started during its construction. Builders claimed tools had been moved around, and others refused to work there. Subsequent investigations have discovered that the school was built above a mine shaft into which, in 1853, a 13-year-old boy fell to his death. The phantom footsteps have also been linked to children who were terrorised by a local 19th-century warehouse manager, who was eventually jailed.

"Some people have asked if we want the ghost exorcised, but he seems friendly enough," said Mr Needham. "And we can always say to OFSTED that we have sufficient spiritual guidance."

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