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Murder sparks security review;FE Focus

THE brutal murder of a student in the woods at Hadlow College in Kent has sparked calls for a review of student safety at residential colleges.

The judge and jury at Maidstone Crown Court expressed concern at the apparent lack of supervision and pastoral care at the college.

Two agricultural students Neil Sayers, 19, and Graham Wallis, 18, were convicted of murdering a third who "got on their nerves".

Mr Justice Newman delayed sentencing until this week because the case had wider implications for society, especially the revelation of a cult of violence among impressionable youths which went unnoticed at the college.

His concern was echoed this week by safety campaigner Diana Lamplugh, who set up the Suzy Lamplugh Trust following the disappearance of her daughter.

She added: "Universities and colleges have to be prepared for sudden outbreaks of violence. This means emergency training for staff and some basic education for students in conflict and danger avoidance, self-defence and strategies for coping with violent situations."

Elizabeth Browning, Hadlow chairman of governors, said the murder last May of Russell Crookes, 17, had had a profound effect on the college, which received a grade 3 for student support at its last inspection a few months before the murder.

She added: "It has heightened our awareness of the vulnerability of young people. We are constantly striving to enhance our pastoral support programmes."

Howard Petch, general secretary of the National Association of Principals and Agricultural Education Officers, said they had already published guidelines on student safety and college security.

"We will look at the judge's comments on the Hadlow case and see if we need to update and revise them," he added.

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