Manton re-opens as transfer is agreed

15th November 1996 at 00:00
It was back to business as usual at Manton junior school in Worksop, after Matthew Wilson's mother agreed to his transfer to another school.

The school had been closed for nearly two weeks after staff refused to teach the 10-year-old because of his alleged violent and disruptive behaviour. His mother, Pamela Cliffe, was adamant that he should return to the school when the governors decided they could no longer afford the supply teacher who was looking after him. The governors had twice rejected staff appeals for Matthew's expulsion.

During the strike the governors offered a compromise of one-to-one tuition, but some parents were unhappy about the cost.

Shortly after meeting parents three governors resigned, including Eileen Bennett, the chairwoman.

Meanwhile, Nottinghamshire council had refused to step in, saying it had no legal powers to do so as it was a dispute between the head and the governors, but Gillian Shephard, the Education and Employment Secretary, disputed that claim. She issued an ultimatum to the education committee chairman telling councillors to sort it out.

The chairman, Fred Riddell, wrote to Mrs Shephard seeking her backing. He proposed that the education authority should refuse Matthew entry to Manton and offer him a place elsewhere. Mrs Shephard agreed to this plan.

The council wanted Government support because Mrs Cliffe was planning to seek a judicial review of her son's case.

Nigel de Gruchy, general secretary of the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers, whose eight members at Manton went on strike, praised Mr Riddell's "brave initiative".

He said he had corresponded with the Education Secretary for several months urging just such an intervention.

Mr Riddell has announced that Matthew had been found a place at another school. He declined to name the school or give the date when Matthew is due to start.

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