What the teachers say;Interview;Patrick O'Toole;Sandra Taylor;Paula Bowles

13th March 1998 at 00:00
Dorothy Lepkowska asks teachers how the Dunblane tragedy has changed the way schools view safety.

Patrick O'Toole, Year 6 teacher at St Clare's RC primary school in Handsworth, Birmingham: "That an incident like Dunblane could happen was a terrible shock. It made us very conscious of security, while at the same time ensuring that things are as normal as possible for children in the day-to-day running of the school.

"Birmingham received almost pound;500,000 from the Government on improving school security earlier this year but in this city that works out at just pound;1,000 for each primary school, which isn't very much."

Sandra Taylor, deputy head of Newberries primary school, in Radlett, Hertfordshire: "Not enough money has been pumped into schools to improve security.

"Even the most secure school in the world could not have prevented some of these tragedies happening, if the perpetrator is that determined.

"There is a balance to be struck between turning a school into a fortress so that pupils and teachers can work in safety and making it a welcoming place for parents and visitors. Deterrents such as CCTV do make a difference but schools still do not have enough money."

Paula Bowles, senior teacher and special needs co-ordinator at Cedars middle school, in Harrow: "The unfolding drama in Dunblane was like a magnet to teachers who had turned on the school television to record an educational programme.

"Teachers were just standing around in tears. It was a terrible shock that something so horrifying could happen in a school."

"This school has benefited from Government funding. We have had CCTV installed and building work done so our offices are relocated.

"No one can now enter the school without being seen and all visitors have to sign in so we know who is in the building."

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