School supplied blades to allow special needs pupil to self-harm
An investigation has been launched after a specialist school in Godalming reportedly allowed a vulnerable pupil access to razor blades in order to self-harm.
The Mirror claims that teachers at Unsted Park School were told to give a female pupil with a history of self-harm 'controlled access' to sterilised blades to use under 'specific and controlled conditions.'
It is reported that the child would be escorted to a bathroom and allowed to carry out the practice in a 'safe and controlled manner' while teachers waited outside, checking on her every couple of minutes. Staff would then allegedly clean and dress her ensuing wounds.
The Get Surrey news website says that the policy was adopted last year but dropped after less than a week after 'several' members of staff complained to Surrey County Council.
The school's head and deputy now face the prospect of a professional conduct hearing by the Teaching Agency under allegations of unacceptable professional conduct.
A spokesman for the Priory Group which runs the facility said it was a 'short-term, local procedure' which the headteacher and school principal had introduced in the 'genuine belief' that it was in the pupil's best interest.
"However, they accept that the procedure should not have been implemented without further approvals having been obtained from key stakeholders and senior management prior to its introduction," the spokesman added.
The co-ed school is open to children aged seven to 19 with Asperger's syndrome and higher functioning autism. It was rated by Ofsted as 'good with outstanding aspects' in its last inspection.