YEP Says: Lessons which can be learned from a tragedy

Will Cornick.
Will Cornick.
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AS today’s heart-rending report into the murder of much-loved Leeds teacher Ann Maguire in April 2014 by teenage student William Cornick makes abundantly clear, this “unique and tragic event is without precedent” and needs to be acknowledged.

The first teacher to lose their life in Britain since Philip Lawrence’s murder in 1995, it’s impossible to legislate for the actions of a pupil whose previous behaviour had not caused alarm and who demonstrated a “bizarre calmness and air of normality” moments after stabbing Mrs Maguire to death at Corpus Christi College.

Given these circumstances, and how such safeguarding reports like this invariably often apportion blame, it’s also important to acknowledge independent reviewer Nick Page’s central conclusion: “No one could have predicted or pre-empted Will Cornick’s attack on Ann Maguire and following her murder, individuals and organisations acted courageously, coherently and professionally in supporting the school and affected people.”

Yet, while there are some lessons to be learned, this is one of those reports which every education boss, needs to reflect upon. Are they doing enough to protect teachers? Given Cornick’s Facebook posts before the murder, is there a means by which pupils can report bravado on social media that might, in fact, reveal dangerous motives?