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March 2013



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An investigation is underway after a child at Unsted Park School was given access to a disposable razor


  • *Staff told to give pupil access to blades and escort them to bathroom
  • *Pupil was allowed to self-harm in a ‘safe and controlled manner’
  • *Policy, introduced by headteacher and principal, abandoned after six days
  • *Teaching Agency is now investigating and will decide on any further action


By James Rush



Teachers were ordered to hand razor blades to a vulnerable youngster as part of a controversial ‘controlled self-harm’ policy at a specialist school, it has emerged.


An investigation is underway after a child at Unsted Park School – which offers education to boys and girls aged between seven and 19 years who have Asperger’s Syndrome and higher-functioning autism – was given access to blade kits.


Staff were told to give the pupil access to the sterilised disposable razor and sterile wipes and escort the child to a bathroom where they would be allowed to self-harm in a ‘safe and controlled manner’.


Teachers were ordered to wait outside the bathroom while the child was inside, checking on them every two minutes, before the wounds were dressed and cleaned by staff.


The policy was introduced and abandoned within six days at the school in Munstead Park, Godalming, Surrey, and is understood to have sparked protests from staff.


Principal Steve Dempsey and headteacher Laura Blair now face the possibility of being hauled before a Teaching Agency hearing over allegations of unacceptable professional conduct in connection with the policy.


Members of school staff are understood to have raised fears with Surrey County Council’s Local Authority Designated Officer over the procedure.


Following the Teaching Agency investigation, a panel from the regulator will decide whether any further action will be taken.


The regulator could decide to refer the case to a professional conduct panel.


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