Pay-out 'nothing to fear'

24th February 2006 at 00:00
A woman who won a pound;20,000 payout from her local authority over claims she was constantly bullied at her Welsh primary school has not set a legal precedent, experts claimed this week.

Sophie Amor, 23, of Blaenavon, south Wales, agreed to accept the out-of-court settlement from Torfaen county borough council after claiming her life was destroyed by her tormentors.

But Mark Blois, education law expert at Midlands-based firm Browne Jacobson, said the law on bullying is already firmly established. As Amor's case was settled out of court without the local authority conceding liability, it does not set a legal precedent.

"The payout is a reasonably significant one and has generated sensational headlines, but the situation for schools is the same as before," said Mr Blois. "Clear policies, reasonably vigilant risk assessment and a sensitive approach is what's required. Schools which do this should have nothing to fear."

The local authority, which has not admitted liability, said all its schools have robust anti-bullying policies and clear guidelines. The case was dealt with by Torfaen's insurers, who made a settlement to minimise costs.

Ms Amor told the BBC Wales website she attended St Peter's Church in Wales school in Blaenavon and was physically and verbally bullied between the ages of four and 11. She claimed to have attempted suicide at nine and been diagnosed with depression at 14.

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