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Classroom assistant to be sentenced for bullying campaign

A West Yorkshire classroom assistant who carried out a five-month campaign of bullying against a seven-year-old pupil who was taped to her chair and shut in a storeroom is due to be sentenced.

Rachael Regan, 43, "singled out and bullied" the girl at a school in the Calderdale area, Bradford Crown Court heard Credit: Press Association

Rachael Regan, 43, "singled out and bullied" the girl at a school in the Calderdale area, Bradford Crown Court heard.

Regan's trial last month was told about a catalogue of incidents against the pupil, who is now nine, which included sticking post-it notes to her thumbs, tying her shoes on with string, calling her a nickname, goading her with a biscuit, hiding her doll and tearing up her photograph.

A jury of four men and eight women took under four hours to find her guilty of child cruelty.

A teacher, Deborah McDonald, 41, was cleared of the same offence.

Judge Neil Davey QC has already told Regan she will not go to prison when she is sentenced.

Prosecutor Simon Waley told the week-long trial an investigation was launched by the school and the police after the girl told her mother a teacher had tied her to a chair with sticky tape so she could not move.

She said that the class had been laughing at her and that she was the 'class clown. She said that Mrs Regan put it all around the chair and it was hard breathing. She said that she couldn't get out to reach her things. She said that the whole class were laughing.

– Simon Waley, prosecuting

The girl's mother said the moment her daughter told her a teaching assistant had taped her to a chair was "heartbreaking".

The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told the jury the young girl "clung" to her "for dear life" with tears streaming down her face after the incident.

Mr Waley told the trial how the girl also told police that Regan had bound string to her legs and feet to keep her pumps on.

The girl told police that Regan, of Illingworth, West Yorkshire, put Post-it notes on to her thumbs when she had been sucking them and shut the door to a store room, leaving her on a chair inside.

Other staff members at the school told police they had witnessed some of the incidents.

One support assistant said the girl's arms were "fastened down by her sides with the Sellotape around her more than once" and said she was taped to the chair for around 10 minutes.

She said Regan went to another classroom to fetch another teaching assistant to show her what she had done.

Mr Waley said Regan told her colleague: "She'll not get up and wander around the classroom now."

He said Regan pulled a photograph of the girl off the wall and ripped it to pieces in front of her.

The court heard that the defendants denied ever bullying the girl when they were interviewed by the police and described some of the incidents as "fun" and "a joke".

Regan will be sentenced at Bradford Crown Court.


Sea cadets to set sail in new flagship

Sea Cadets throughout our region are celebrating the launch of a new ship, which is set to benefit hundreds of young people.

The Sea Cadets is a national charity for 10 to 18 year olds and has units across Yorkshire, Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire.

Some of its young members haven't ever been to the coast, let alone gone out at sea - but, soon, they could be setting sail in the charity's new flagship. Lauren Hall joined a group of Sea Cadets at the launch ceremony in Northern Spain.

Sowerby school was not 'deliberately targeted'

Police and governors of the North Yorkshire primary school whose website was allegedly hacked by Islamic extremists have been at the school this morning as a reassurance to families.

Both the school and police have sent out messages reassuring parents that this was not a specifically targeted threat and that there was no risk to children attending school. Inspector Chris Galley, of North Yorkshire Police, said:

“We believe that the Sowerby Primary Schoolwebsite had unauthorised content posted by a virus which seeks out servers with weak security software. Other organisations and businesses both locally, nationally and internationally have had their websites compromised in a similar manner in recent months and there is no suggestion that Sowerby Primary Schoolwas deliberately targeted in any way."

The school has now removed itsr website and enquiries to establish the origin of the content are ongoing. Pete Dwyer, North Yorkshire’s Corporate Director of the Children and Young People’s Service said:

“We have been working closely with the police on this matter. Our schools place great importance on website security but we understand that despite all best efforts public and corporate websites can be compromised in this way from time to time. We are reassured by the police in this case that this was a random breach and that children are not at any risk.”

Is your 2-year-old entitled to free early education and childcare?

Over half of all local two year olds in North East Licolnshire are eligible for up to 15 hours free early education and childcare.

Local council chiefs say eligible two year olds can access their funded place with one of the 68 providers; including day nurseries, pre-schools, children’s centres and approved child minders. Funding starts the term after the child’s second birthday.

Children born between:

1 April and 31 August can apply from 1 April and access a place from September.

1 September and 31 December can apply from 1 September and access a place from January.

1 January to 31 March can apply from 1 January and access a place from April.

From September 2014 the eligibility criteria was extended and now includes:

  • Income Support/ Income based Jobseekers Allowance
  • Income related employment and support allowance
  • Support under the VI of Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • The guarantee element of state pension credit
  • Child tax credit, (annual income (as assessed by HMRC) that does not exceed £16,190))
  • Working Tax Credits (including the four-week period immediately after employment ceases, or start to work fewer than 16 hours per week) with a household income of less than £16,190 as assessed by HMRC.

  • Or if a child is:

  • Looked after by the Local Authority;

  • Left care through special guardianship or an adoption or residence order;

  • Current in a statement of special educational needs or an Education, Health and Care plan;

  • In receipt of the Disability Living Allowance

  • Accessing the Early Years Support Pathway

If you think your child is eligible you can apply by: Calling the Family Information Service on (01472) 326293 option 4

Apply online at

Visiting your local children’s centre or childcare provider who can support in completing an application form


Injured soldier’s own thigh bone used for First World War ‘trench art’

A brooch crafted from a piece of human thigh bone is among the items selected for an exhibition about the First World War at the University of Leeds.

Little is know about the rather macabre piece of jewellery, which is part of the University’s archive of items and documents from the war. It was made from a piece of Sergeant Thomas Kitching’s thigh bone and is thought to have been given to his sweetheart, Lizzie Hunter.

Sgt Kitching, who served with the 12th Battalion, Durham Light Infantry, had his left leg shattered when wounded on the Somme on 7 July 1916. The brooch, together with a portrait of Sgt Kitching and postcards sent to Lizzie at her Birtley, County Durham, address, were donated to the University. He survived the war and went on to marry Lizzie in Chester-le-Street, County Durham, shortly after the war ended in 1918.

The unusual piece of jewellery is among many items selected for a special free exhibition in The Stanley and Audrey Burton Gallery at the University, which runs until Saturday 20 December.

Bedale Hoard to go on display after conservation work

The life savings of a rich Viking will go on display today after undergoing conservation.

This was how the collection looked before conservation

The Bedale Hoard was found by metal detectorists in 2012 and includes a silver neck ring. The collection was bought by the Yorkshire Museum earlier this year following donations from the public.

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