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Parents back sacked deputy

The sacking of a deputy head has deeply divided the primary school where he worked and driven some parents to launch a protest campaign, writes Michael Prestage.

Carl Torrington, 46, had taught at Westfield primary school, Radstock, near Bath, for 17 years. He was dismissed from his Pounds 25,000 a-year job after it was alleged that he grabbed a pupil by his jumper and dragged him around a desk. His dismissal was confirmed at an appeal hearing last week.

The sacking angered a group of around 40 parents who believe Mr Torrington's departure was due to a personality clash with head Eric Baldwin. Mr Torrington plans to take his case to an industrial tribunal.

Parents have set up the Friends of Westfield School to campaign for the sacked teacher. In a bitter dispute some are threatening to remove their children while Mr Baldwin and Westfield's governors are threatening legal action over some of the parents' claims.

Brian Willcox, a Friends leader, said: "They have stripped a teacher of his profession who we have no doubt has the ability to teach our children."

The school said this week that it would be inappropriate to comment and Mr Baldwin referred callers to Martin Clarke, the local representative of the National Association of Head Teachers, who has advised him throughout the case.

Mr Clarke said disciplinary procedures had been followed and that a number of allegations had been made against Mr Torrington. "The parents involved in this campaign represent about 20 children in a school of more than 300,"he added.

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