Teacher's suspension lifted following investigation into Batley Grammar lesson

A teacher who was suspended over the use of a "totally inappropriate" resource in a religious studies lesson at Batley Grammar School will be allowed to return to the classroom following the conclusion of an independent investigation.

Wednesday, 26th May 2021, 7:40 pm
Batley Grammar School

The probe was launched last month following the use of the material in a Year nine lesson on the topic of "controversial issues", which was included to initiate a discussion about the meaning of "blasphemy".

This led to protests from parents outside the school gates and widespread upset among the town's Muslim community.

Investigators have released their findings today. Their report states that the teaching staff involved did not use the resource with the intention of causing offence, but that the topics covered by the lesson could have been addressed in other ways.

In a statement this evening, Batley Multi Academy Trust has accepted the findings of the review and confirmed that the teacher's suspension will now be lifted.

The trust has also apologised again for "the deep offence and distress" caused to a number of students, parents and members of the school community.

A spokesperson for the trust said: “We accept the recommendations of the independent expert investigation and will put them into practice immediately.

"The investigation recommends that the issues raised can be effectively dealt with through additional management guidance and training.

"The findings are clear, that the teaching staff involved did not use the resource with the intention of causing offence, and that the topics covered by the lesson could have been effectively addressed in other ways.

"In the light of those conclusions, the suspensions put in place while the investigation was underway will now be lifted.

"The trust deeply regrets the distress caused by the use of this resource, and we would like to thank all of the trust’s stakeholders for their contributions and support during what has been a difficult period.

"All those in our trust’s family – whether parents, staff or members of our wider school community – want us to continue to provide a high-quality education so that our students aspire to excellence and achieve their full potential, both in their academic studies and personal development.”

Kim Leadbeater Labour's Parliamentary candidate for the upcoming Batley and Spen by-election, said she hoped staff would now be supported to help all pupils at the school get the best education possible

She said: “The report from the independent experts offers a lot for people to unite around.

"The most important thing is that the children can get on with their education without any further disruption. I appreciate emotions have run high but this should not have disrupted the pupils’ education on top of the impact of the pandemic

“I am pleased that measures will be put in place to ensure that the offence caused does not happen again – and I welcome what the school has said about that - but it is completely unacceptable that a teacher was forced into hiding and his family were put at risk.

“The report makes clear that while mistakes were made, this was not done out of any malice or ill-intent.

"Staff should now be supported to get on with the important job of helping all their pupils get the best education possible.”