In Depth

Ann Maguire: stabbed teacher was 'heart of the school'

Suspect described as a high-achieving, middle-class schoolboy who had become increasingly withdrawn

Murdered school teacher Ann Maguire

TRIBUTES have been paid to the 61-year-old teacher who was stabbed in front of pupils at Corpus Christi Catholic College in Leeds yesterday.

Ann Maguire, 61, who taught Spanish and religious education, was rushed to hospital for treatment but subsequently pronounced dead. Witnesses said she had been stabbed in the neck and back with a kitchen knife until her attacker was restrained by other teachers.

It is the first time in Britain a teacher has been murdered in a classroom, allegedly by one of their pupils. Prime Minister David Cameron was among those to pay tribute to Maguire, a mother of two who was due to retire this summer after 40 years of teaching at Corpus Christi. "My thoughts are with the family of Anne Maguire, as well as the staff and pupils of Corpus Christi school," he said.

Education Secretary Michael Gove described her death as "an appalling tragedy".

Many tearful former students have returned to the school to pay their respects, with one former pupil describing Ann as "a great teacher, the best in the world". Another said she was "the heart of the school".

A 15-year-old boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has been arrested on suspicion of murder. The Daily Telegraph describes him as a "high-achieving, middle-class schoolboy" who had reportedly become "increasingly withdrawn" following the separation of his parents.

Meanwhile, the stabbing has reopened the debate over security in schools, with the Daily Mail considering whether schools should screen pupils for weapons. A recent investigation by Sky News found that almost 1,000 pupils were caught with weapons including guns, axes and a meat cleaver in schools in the last three years. However, head teachers told the Mail that many staff remain reluctant to conduct pat-down searches on pupils.

Ann's death comes almost 20 years after the fatal stabbing of Philip Lawrence, the London head teacher murdered at his own school gates as he tried to break up a fight.

In The Independent, Oliver Duff argues that yesterday's killing says "nothing more fundamental about our society or about childhood". Instead we must look at the "devastating behaviour of a tiny minority of teenagers". Duff adds that the "outpouring of affection for Ms Maguire from her pupils, past and present, reminds us of the truly profound impact that teachers have on others' lives".

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