South East Wales

Sara Ege murder case: NUT teacher abuse training call

Yaseen Ali Ege
Image caption Yaseen Ege, seven, was beaten to death by his mother

Training needs improvement to help teachers identify abuse cases after a mother killed her son, says a union.

Sara Ege was jailed for a minimum of 17 years at Cardiff Crown Court for murdering Yaseen Ege, seven, after he failed to memorise the Koran.

A review found reports of domestic violence at the family home and recommended a review of school support.

The NUT said teachers' first role was education, but they were also expected to detect issues such as abuse.

Jailing Ege, 33, of Pontcanna, Cardiff, on Monday, the judge said Yaseen had suffered prolonged cruelty.

The court heard he had been subjected to a ferocious beating when he failed to memorise passages from the Koran, and collapsed while still murmuring extracts of it.

In the serious case review by Cardiff's local safeguarding children board, published separately on Monday, seven recommendations were made.

They include a call for a review of the support available to schools in order to safeguard children.

The NUT said it agreed that the training and support available for teachers - both while doing their teacher training and throughout their careers - needed to be looked into.

"Teaching is a complex role in many ways and there's a variety of things that teachers have to do," said Owen Hathway, Wales policy officer for the NUT.

"Firstly, of course, is to be educators. But there are responsibilities and expectations on them to do other things, such as pick up on these issues of abuse at home.

"But often changes in behaviour of children are very subtle and they're difficult to pick up on.

"And maybe the right training isn't in place or access to training isn't in place and, even beyond that, when they pick up [on abuse cases] the support given to teachers to be able to raise these efficiently and to raise them sensitively isn't always in place either."

Safety and development

He said the number of teacher training days had been cut by two days this year in Wales, so there was less opportunity to train.

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Media captionA serious case review into the incident found reports of domestic violence in the family as far back as 2003

He added that some schools might not have the finances to allow teachers to do the necessary training.

But Mr Hathway insisted that the safety and development of pupils was "paramount" to teachers and that they would not be worried about raising an issue with the appropriate authorities if and when necessary.

The serious case review said while lessons could be learned, Yaseen's death could not have been predicted.

It noted that after Yaseen started school, there were "one or two occasions" when teachers became concerned about his health and wellbeing.

They contacted his mother to say that he should be taken to the doctor, but these were "not referred for consideration under the inter-agency child protection procedures and did not come to the attention of children's services or the police until after his death".

Image caption Sara Ege, 33, was jailed for life, with a minimum of 17 years, after a five-week trial

The seven-year-old's death was initially treated as an accident after his body was discovered following a fire at the family home in July 2010. But tests later revealed he had died hours earlier.

His mother also set fire to his body in an attempt to hide the evidence.

In a series of claims and counter-claims Ege confessed to the murder and then retracted that confession.

She was also found guilty of perverting the course of justice and given a four-year sentence for that crime.

Yousuf Ege, a taxi driver, was cleared of allowing the death of a child by failing to protect him.

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