Teacher attacked by 'hoodies'

A BRAVE teacher who confronted a gang of hoodie-wearing teenagers was punched in the face in a shocking attack at an Essex school. The group of youngsters ran on to the grounds of St Benedict's College in Colchester and into a classroom where a mock examination was taking place during lunch break.

A BRAVE teacher who confronted a gang of hoodie-wearing teenagers was punched in the face in a shocking attack at an Essex school.

The group of youngsters ran on to the grounds of St Benedict's College in Colchester and into a classroom where a mock examination was taking place during lunch break.

As the chaos ensued geography teacher Dave Deeny, apprehended one of the seven-strong gang who were playing truant from another Colchester school.

But when Mr Deeny let go the thug punched him several times in his face, leaving him with a bloodied nose, bruised face and a blood shot eye.


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The gang were all wearing hoodies and wrapped scarves around their faces in a bid to hide their identities, although pupils at the school used mobile phones to take pictures of the intruders.

Last night the school's headteacher, Alan Whelan, said he was unhappy with the time it took for police to get to site despite repeated phone calls from staff.

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Mr Whelan was a teacher at St George's School in London in 1995 when headteacher Philip Lawrence was stabbed to death as he tried to protect a pupil being attacked by a gang.

He said the experience had taught him just how important it was for police to be on the scene quickly when there is trouble.

He said: “I am not happy because we did phone five times and it was very, very clear that there had been an escalation each time we called.

“The ambulance left the school before the police arrived - when they did get here they were very effective and efficient but the explanation given to me was that they did not know it was so serious.

“But as far as I am concerned intruders in a school should be top priority, but I don't think the guys knew how serious it was because they were not kept up-to-date by headquarters.

“I taught at the school where Philip Lawrence was headteacher, so have seen first hand what can happen so I would urge that police treat any call from a school with the utmost seriousness.”

Mr Whelan said he had no idea why the gang had targeted the school in Norman Way during Wednesday lunchtime.

The gang members stopped by staff claimed they were no longer at school but underneath their hoodies were uniforms, although Mr Whelan stressed they were not from the neighbouring Philip Morant School.

The headteacher also hailed Mr Deeny's actions as heroic and praised pupils who went to the geography teacher's defence.

All the pupils were later asked to write an account of what they saw and hundreds of statements were later handed to police.

Last night the school had a parents' evening and Mr Whelan said he had been dealing with a lot of worried people, but stressed their had not been any knives seen during the incident.

“A lot of parents have been calling in and asking for reassurance that the children will be safe - I can't think of a place where children would be safer - we don't have people passing by but of course you cannot stop somebody who wants to get into a school.

“We are very vigilant and staff stopped the intruders within minutes.”

Colchester police have denied responding slowly and said arrests were made just 12 minutes after they had been told by the ambulance service that an assault had taken place.

n Two 16-year-olds were arrested on suspicion of assault following the incident on Wednesday and were bailed until March, and four more people were questioned yesterday.

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