September 2000

The news in September continued to be dominated by the case of Mrs Marjorie Evans, headteacher of St Mary's Junior School Caldicot. On 1st September she was cleared on appeal of a charge of common assault against a ten year old pupil at the school. It was alleged that Mrs Evans slapped the boy, who has behavioural and learning difficulties, across the face after he had kicked and tried to headbutt her. At Cardiff Crown Court the judge accepted the defence case that the pupil's evidence was unreliable after hearing that he had talked of a plot to get rid of Mrs Evans. The judge also rejected as unreliable the evidence of another teacher at the school who had given evidence against the headteacher.
However, police quickly confirmed that a separate inquiry into "inappropriate handling" of pupils at the school by Mrs Evans and another teacher, Mrs Janet Bowen, was to continue. The charges against Mrs Bowen were subsequently dropped and her suspension from the school was lifted by the Board of Governors.
The charges against Mrs Evans have been sent to the Crown Prosecution Service. They include allegations that she tied two pupils together with a skipping rope, forcibly removed a boy from the library and shouted at pupils in an inappropriate voice. The complaints are reported to have come from other adults at the school rather than from parents or children. It is understood that Mrs Evans will be informed of the CPS decision at the end of October.

In a separate development, governors at the school voted out their Chairman, County Councillor Graham Powell. At their Annual General Meeting they rejected him in favour of fellow Labour party member, town councillor Robert Gibbs.

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