Teachers at a school in Surrey provided sterilized razor blade kits to enable an autistic pupil to self harm, it has emerged.
Despite protests, teachers at Unsted Park School in Godalming, Surrey, were ordered to escort the pupil to a bathroom, wait outside and check on her every two minutes.
A spokesperson for the Priory Group, which is responsible for running the school, said:
“This was a short-term, local procedure introduced by the head teacher and school principal who genuinely believed it was in the best interests of the pupil.
“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.”
Principal Steve Dempsey and headteacher Laura Blair, face the possibility of a professional conduct hearing by the Teaching Agency under allegations of unacceptable professional conduct.
The school was established for students with Asperger’s syndrome and higher functioning autism.
A spokesperson from charity Selfharm.co.uk said:
“The issue of controlled self-harm has proven to be effective in some areas, but only under the correct supervision.
“Self-harm is sometimes the safest option for a young person – if they’re using self-harm to make life a bit easier to manage (for example) then taking it away from them without replacing it with something else can actually bring on a desperate kind of depression that could make them slide from self-harm to having suicidal ideation.
“I’d rather someone be self-harming in a way they can manage as safely as possible than be left stranded with no way to cope and be thinking about more desperate measures.
“In essence, it’s not possible to say that it’s a right or wrong approach to dealing with self-harm in young people – that judgment comes down to how it’s being supported, the policies in place and the point at which someone is deemed appropriate to engage in such a programme.
“I’d be horrified if a school was trying to manage such a scheme, but open-minded to an appropriate residential facility implementing it as one of many care pathways.”
“It’s disgraceful. The school is supposed to be a safe environment. The very idea that teachers would enable a pupil to self harm is mind boggling. These teachers do not have the necessary training to administer or supervise this kind of scheme. It’s insane.”