Silent tribute to stabbed teacher
Headteachers today offered their condolences to the family of teacher Ann Maguire, who was stabbed to death in her classroom, as they said that such incidents are "mercifully rare".
Delegates at the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) annual conference in Birmingham said they noted the events at Corpus Christi Catholic College in Leeds this week "with great sadness".
Earlier, about 300 members took part in a minute's silence to pay tribute to Mrs Maguire, 61, who was attacked as she taught a lesson.
Outgoing NAHT president Bernadette Hunter asked delegates to pay tribute to Mrs Maguire's 40 years service, describing her as a "dedicated, inspiring and caring teacher who was loved by so many".
NAHT members stood and bowed their heads for the minute's silence and applauded at the end.
Afterwards, Mrs Hunter said that the NAHT's conference would be "celebrating the wonderful work of teachers and headteachers and the remarkable service that our profession has given to this country".
A resolution was amended to take note of Mrs Maguire's death to say: " Conference notes with great sadness the events in Leeds his week. The attack was unprecedented. Schools across the country are generally very safe places to work and learn in every day.
"Such incidents are mercifully rare and our condolences go out to the family and friends of Ann Maguire and to the students and colleagues of Corpus Christi Catholic College in Leeds."
The resolution, which was backed by union members, went on to say that the NAHT should ensure "that the very positive behaviour, that is the norm in schools, is celebrated".
Meanwhile, a book of condolence has been opened at the Cathedral in Leeds for people to sign.
At the same time the administrator of the Diocese of Leeds, Mgr John Wilson, has written to all the churches in the diocese saying: " Foremost our thoughts and prayers are for Ann and her family, and for the College and local community.
"The headteacher, Mr Steve Mort, and the senior leadership at the College, together with all the staff and pupils, have responded with immense dignity. A team of support has been present in the College, from the police, the local authority, the diocese and Catholic Care. Mgr Paul Fisher, Deacon Sean Quigley and the Franciscan Sisters of the Renewal have provided great spiritual and pastoral accompaniment.
"It goes without saying, but please would you pray especially for Ann, her family and the College and local community. It is in the strength of prayer that we stand united in faith.'
Prayers will be said for Mrs Maguire and her family in every church in West Yorkshire, which the Diocese of Leeds covers.