Batley school protests: Teacher allowed back in Prophet Muhammad image row

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Protests outside the schoolImage source, PA Media
Image caption,
Protesters gathered outside the school with some calling for the teacher to be sacked

A teacher who was suspended after showing children a caricature of the Prophet Muhammad can return to the classroom.

Protests were held outside Batley Grammar School after the teacher showed an image during a religious studies lesson in March.

An independent investigation found the teacher did not intend to cause offence by showing the image.

The school said it would offer more guidance and training for staff.

The image was shown on more than one occasion to students during lessons earlier this year, the investigation found.

Demonstrators gathered outside the school gates on two occasions, with some calling for the teacher to be sacked.

In an executive summary of the report, the trust said teaching staff "genuinely believed that using the image had an educational purpose and benefit".

But the trust said it recognised that using the image did cause "deep offence" to a number of students, parents and members of the school community, adding that it "deeply regrets the distress" caused.

'Suspensions lifted'

A spokeswoman for the Batley Multi Academy Trust said the school would put the recommendations from the report "into practice immediately".

She added: "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 under way will now be lifted."

The National Education Union said it was "pleased the correct decision has been reached" following the lifting of the suspension.

A Department for Education spokesperson said parents, families and the local community should "welcome and support the trust's comprehensive plan to strengthen its oversight of the curriculum".

However, in a statement, Batley Parents and Community Partnership (BPCP), said while they "acknowledge and welcome the lessons learnt" they were "disappointed at the lack of clarity, transparency and rationale behind some of the findings".

The statement said "given the background of this caricature", the report "fails to address how it is possible that teachers were unaware of the offence it would cause".

The group also claimed representatives were supposed to have "played an active role" in the investigation and drafting of the report, something it said "didn't transpire".

The statement added that parents and the wider community needed to "come together calmly" to review the next steps.

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