HAMMER HORROR FOR SCHOOLBOY
MUM’S BATTLE FOR ‘JUSTICE’:
ASIX-YEAR-OLD boy had his front teeth knocked out with a hammer as pupils took part in a lesson designed to give young children hands-on learning experiences of the great outdoors.
Riley Meredith-Morgan was hit in the face when a hammer was allegedly thrown during a forest school lesson.
His mother, Susan, is angry because she does not believe anybody has been disciplined over the incident, which happened at Severnbanks Primary School, in Lydney, on November 22.
And she decided to speak out after being told a review concluded the incident that left Riley struggling to eat, drink and talk was an accident.
The school had referred the incident to external health and safety consultants and said it has since taken “appropriate action”.
Susan says she was shocked when she first saw Riley after receiving a message to say he had been injured during forest school – a lesson where primary children learn about the natural woodland environment.
“When I got to the school he was still in shock,” she said. “My six-year-old boy had been hit in the mouth with a hammer and had his front teeth knocked out.
“It broke my heart to see him. He had to have time off school because of the severe discomfort and he couldn’t eat or drink without a straw.
“The injury itself is healing now, but it’s not just the physical damage.
“I had to fight with him to get him back to school and I feel sick to my stomach every second he is there.”
Such schools are popular because it is thought that being around trees and learning practical skills like making a camp fire benefit children’s education.
The exact circumstances of the accident are unclear, but Susan says it happened after a group of six-year-old boys were given a safety talk before going into a shed containing numerous tools, including a hammer.
She says her dentist told her the hammer must have hit Riley in the face with some force to have knocked his teeth out.
The following day, she was told the other child involved had been excluded for the rest of the day.
The pupil then had to spend the following day in isolation.
But after being assured there would be an investigation, during which nobody asked Riley what had happened, she was angry to find out the results of the health and safety report to governors.
“The punishment for the child is not my issue,” she said.
She claimed the accident should not have happened and questioned how well the children were being supervised.
Susan says she does not want to take the “easy option” of removing her three children from the school, which is rated “good” by Ofsted.
She says she will carry on fighting until somebody is brought to book for the accident, which could have left Riley needing false teeth at the age of six.
She says a dental X-ray has revealed another of teeth, but Riley will have to wait to find out if they come through as expected.
In the meantime, she said the ordeal had put him off school and he would not be able to smile for the camera at Christmas.
“He’s doing a lot better now, but it’s not just the physical side, it’s the trauma,” said Susan.
“I left it over a week to see what they came back with and to see if I would have a written apology, but nothing, so they have left me with no choice but to let people know what happened. I want justice for my boy.”
Rod Johnson, chairman of the governors at Severnbanks, said the health and safety of pupils had always been paramount at the school and would continue to be so.
“The recent Ofsted report acknowledges that the school places pupils’ wellbeing and safety at the heart of all it does,” he said in a statement.
“The incident referred to happened
It broke my heart to see him. He had to have time off school because of the severe discomfort
RILEY’S MOTHER, SUSAN
during an outdoor forest school session where children may use a variety of tools.
“The headteacher delegated the responsibility to the deputy head to investigate this matter to ensure it was dealt with impartially and so there could be no inference of bias or prejudice.
“The school has followed its normal policies and procedures.
“An investigation has been undertaken of the incident, including risk assessments and interviews with all parties involved.
“When an incident like this occurs, the school refers the incident to external health and safety consultants. They have considered all the evidence and it is their view that this was an accident.
“As is standard for any accident such as this, the school has conducted a further review of its procedures and risk assessments.
“The school has taken action that it deems to be appropriate in the circumstances of this accident.”
Riley Meredith-Morgan shows his damaged teeth