Statement from Kim Leadbeater MP, 5th September 2021
“I have been keeping in close touch with the situation surrounding Batley Grammar School and the teacher whose suspension was lifted at the end of May. I have offered him my full support but, as I have made clear repeatedly, I don’t believe it is appropriate to discuss his personal circumstances either in public or on social media.
I welcomed the report by the independent experts appointed by the Batley Multi Academy Trust which I believe has provided an opportunity for the school to implement recommendations to the benefit of the staff, the community, and most importantly the pupils. It is essential that they be able to get on with their education without further disruption.
As I have said on more than one occasion, it is completely unacceptable for a teacher to be forced into hiding and his family put at risk. Their well-being is of great importance to me both personally and as the MP for the area. However, I do not believe it is in their best interests, or that of the children at Batley Grammar, to make his personal situation a matter of public debate.
We must never forget that there is a family at the centre of this, and I have asked that they be allowed time and space to make their own decisions about what is best for them. Whether the teacher returns to the classroom should be up to him and his family. He should be afforded the time and privacy, along with his family, to decide on his plans for the future.
I have been in contact with him to express my support and have offered my assistance through his union. I have also met with West Yorkshire Police to discuss the family’s safety and security as well as that of the pupils and teachers at Batley Grammar.
What I won’t be doing is engaging in debate on this specific matter in public or on social media as I do not believe this to be either helpful or appropriate.
As MP for the area and someone who has lived here all her life, I know that this situation is a very sensitive and emotive one for many people across Batley and Spen. So whilst I will never shy away from issues of freedom of speech or mutual respect and tolerance of different people’s faith and beliefs, in this case I prefer to do so sensitively and privately, without adding to the pressure on the teacher and his family.