Headteacher's grief after boating disaster

23rd March 2001 at 00:00
THE former headteacher of a nine-year-old girl who drowned during a school boating trip has spoken of his "huge sadness" over the tragedy.

Elizabeth Bee died on September 16, 1999, after becoming trapped under the school boat when it capsized in Portsmouth Harbour. Paul Dove, the teacher in charge from the pound;2,180-a-term school, failed to take a head-count and the absence was only discovered after he and the eight other pupils, including her twin sister Victoria, had been rescued.

The twins' mother, Lesley, has said she plans to sue Boundary Oak preparatory school in Fareham, Hampshire, for her daughter's death, after a marine accident report uncovered maintenance and spervision problems. The boat was "grossly overloaded" and in a "dangerous condition" just before capsizing, with water coming in through two small holes in the bow and because of the children's movements onboard.

The lack of other adults to supervise the children was another contributing factor. Supervision "was at best lax and at worse non-existent", said the report.

Head Roger Bliss said: "Many members of staff have been teaching for many years and have dedicated their lives to children. The very last thing you want to do is lose one in this way. It was a huge sadness for us all."

The school no longer offers sailing. Mr Dove retired at 65 last summer.


Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number

Comments

The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now