Ann Maguire stabbing: Leeds school 'to open as usual'

Danny Savage reports from Corpus Christi, where staff and students are in "deep shock"

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The school in Leeds where a teacher was stabbed to death in front of pupils on Monday is expected to open as usual later as police continue to question a 15-year-old boy about the attack.

He remains in custody following the death of Spanish teacher Ann Maguire.

Mrs Maguire, 61, was taken to hospital after the incident at Corpus Christi Catholic College shortly before 12:00 BST. She was later pronounced dead.

At the scene

Aine Arnold laying flowers

At a school well regarded by the pupils milling around outside, it seems none of them can quite believe the tragic events that unfolded.

A student sits on the pavement in tears while others cautiously approach to lay the first of what is likely to be many floral tributes at the gates of Corpus Christi Catholic College in Leeds.

A distraught woman stands at the roadside, inconsolable at the loss of the teacher she called a friend.

Talking to those gathered at the Neville Road school, 17-year-old Aine Arnold summed up the feeling amongst her peers.

"She was lovely, I can't believe that anyone wanted to do something so horrible."

The 15-year-old was detained by teaching staff and later arrested.

A pupil at the scene told the BBC that children were seen screaming and running from a classroom following the attack.

Ch Supt Paul Money of West Yorkshire Police said the victim received a number of stab wounds and a knife was recovered from the scene.

"The incident itself was over very quickly and no other pupils or staff were threatened or injured. However this has clearly been a very traumatic situation for those involved," Mr Money said.

He said the attack was an "unprecedented event" and schools in Leeds were "generally very safe places" to work and study.

Staff members were "in shock" and Mrs Maguire's death would "understandably have a massive impact" on her family and the school, he added.

Downing Street said the prime minister's thoughts were with the victim's family.

The BBC's education correspondent Sean Coughlan said the incident would bring back memories of Philip Lawrence, a head teacher who was killed outside a school in Maida Vale, London, in 1995.

Pupil: "She was amazing... she was the best at everything"

Mr Lawrence was murdered when he went to help a pupil who was being attacked.

The BBC's Danny Savage said the school was on a large estate to the east of the city, well known to residents.

"It's regarded as a good school in what in the past could be regarded as a problematic area overall," he said.

Corpus Christi Catholic College Officers described the stabbing at the school as an "isolated incident"
Corpus Christi Catholic College Police said schools in Leeds were "generally very safe places" to work
Floral tribute at school Floral tributes have been placed outside the school

The Neville Road college has 950 pupils and according to its website retains "traditional values", describing these as "a strong Christian ethos, a broad and varied curriculum, good teaching and learning, excellent discipline and outstanding pastoral care".

Death 'devastating'

Tom Riordan, chief executive of Leeds City Council, said: "We are aware of the serious incident at Corpus Christi Catholic College this morning and our thoughts are with all those concerned.

"We are working with the school to support pupils and staff at this very upsetting time."

Teachers have warned repeatedly of the risks of violent attacks.

There were 250 pupils caught with weapons in school last year.

The most recent figures show 550 pupils permanently excluded from school for physical attacks on adult staff.

But such a deadly attack on a teacher remains very rare.

It will bring back memories of Philip Lawrence, a head teacher who was killed outside St George's school in Maida Vale in 1995.

Mr Lawrence was murdered when he went to help a pupil who was being attacked.

Schools have become much more security-conscious in the intervening years, with an increasing use of metal detectors, CCTV cameras and security gates.

There are police based in some secondary schools.

Much of this has been because of the rise in knife attacks between teenagers.

Airport-style security arches to detect knives and guns have become a regular part of many inner-city secondary schools and colleges.

These knife arches are sometimes permanent and others are brought in as a temporary deterrent.

And head teachers have been told that they have powers to search for weapons or drugs.

Mr Riordan said the authority was "working closely with the police and helping with their investigation".

In a statement on the council's website, the school said it would be open as normal on Tuesday.

It added: "Our school community is in shock today. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family."

Christine Blower, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers (NUT), said the fatal stabbing was "a truly awful thing to have happened to a teacher in the course of her work to educate the next generation".

"Appalling events like this are thankfully very rare indeed but the death of any teacher in her place of work, which should be a place of safety, is devastating.

"Our condolences go to the family and friends of this teacher, and to students and colleagues at the school."

She said the NUT would provide help and assistance to the college and its community.

Hilary Benn, MP for Leeds Central, the constituency in which the college is located, said the killing was "profoundly saddening".

"It is not representative of the college or the community that surrounds it," he said.

While "shocking, terrible" attacks like this were rare, that would be "no comfort" to the dead teacher's family, Mr Benn added.

Pupils have been paying tribute to the teacher on Twitter.

One said Mrs Maguire had "made our Year 11 best time of our life, what an amazing woman RIP".

Another said: "I actually feel sick... RIP to probably the best teacher ever."

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