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Teacher stabbed to death in West Yorkshire classroom - boy (15) arrested

A female teacher was stabbed to death this morning at Corpus Christi Catholic College, Leeds, West Yorkshire police said.

 Detective superintendent Simon Beldon said there was no ongoing risk to pupils or staff and that the school was "continuing to operate as normal".

He said: "The situation is under control and officers, including safer schools officers and members of the local neighbourhood policing team, are currently at the school and are liaising closely with staff.

"The rest of the school is continuing to operate as normal and we would ask that parents do not attend the site unless directly requested to do so by the school.

"Our inquiries are at a very early stage but the full circumstances of this incident will obviously be the subject of a full and thorough investigation."

There are nearly 1,000 pupils on the roll aged between 11 and 16, according to the school's website.

It also has "a strong Christian and community ethos".

The website adds: "The school has a very good pastoral structure, which it is committed to keeping and teachers receive very good back-up support."

Police were called to the school at 11.48am after they were contacted by the ambulance service following a report that a member of staff had been stabbed.

It is believed the teacher taught Spanish and Religious Education.

The woman was taken to hospital for treatment but was subsequently pronounced dead, police said.

A 15-year-old boy, a pupil at the school, has been arrested in connection with the incident and is currently in custody.

There are nearly 1,000 pupils on the roll aged between 11 and 16, according to the school's website.

It also has "a strong Christian and community ethos".

The website adds: "The school has a very good pastoral structure, which it is committed to keeping and teachers receive very good back-up support."

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. We wish to reassure people that this was an isolated incident and there is no ongoing risk to pupils or staff at the school.

"We are working closely with the police and helping with their investigation."

Christine Blower, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said: "This is 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.

"The NUT will provide any help and assistance we can possibly offer to Corpus Christi Catholic College and its community."

Russell Hobby, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, added: "We are shocked and saddened to hear the news that a teacher has been stabbed to death at Corpus Christi Catholic College in Leeds.

"Our thoughts are with her family, her colleagues and the students of the school.

"Teachers carry a great weight for our society and we owe them so much. It is terrible that they should be asked to pay this price too. We know that the close community of schools in Leeds will rally round to offer colleagues their support."

Pupil Georgina Kilroy, 16, said the woman had been a teacher for 40 years.

Speaking outside the school, she said: "I don't know anyone who didn't like her. She was spot on. You couldn't ask for a better teacher."

Georgina said her teacher broke down when she told the children the news. She said that before then they were told a teacher had gone to hospital but lessons continued.

Hilary Benn, Labour MP for Leeds Central, described the incident as "profoundly saddening" but said he was not in favour of stringent security measures that would keep staff and pupils "behind high fences".

He told BBC News: "Most people are good and most people try and do the right thing.

"This is not representative of the college, of the community that surrounds it, the families that send their children to school and the city itself. But it is profoundly saddening."

He added: "Schools are places of learning. We want our schools to be open - we don't want to lock pupils and staff behind high fences."

Downing Street described the stabbing as "appalling".

"The Prime Minister's thoughts are very much with the victim's relatives as well as the entire school community there, which I'm sure will be deeply shocked," the Prime Minister's official spokesman said.

Pupils began leaving flowers at the school gate.

The message with the first bunch read: "To a special teacher. We was all sad about it. I will never forget you."

Kerrianne Ayward, 17, said: "She was just lovely. She was helpful and caring and you could have a laugh with her.

"She was always there for you, even if she didn't know you very well. No one had a bad word for her - I mean no one."

Kerrianne, who left the school two years ago, said: "She's been my referee for everything, college, everything.

"There's no one else you would go to who's better. She was the heart of the school."

Another former pupil, Peter Masefield, 18, said: "I just can't understand why her. Of all people. She was the school's figurehead."

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