Former Northamptonshire school headteacher denies child cruelty charges

Stephen Player, former headteacher of Spratton Hall School

Stephen Player, former headteacher of Spratton Hall School

A former headteacher of a Northamptonshire school has pleaded not guilty to six charges of child cruelty.

Stephen Player, 59, of Manor Road, Spratton, is accused of six offences of child cruelty over an 11-year period while working as a member of staff at the now-closed Oakwood School in Stowmarket.

Player was headteacher at the £12,000-a-year Spratton Hall Primary School until he retired in September. None of the allegations relate to his time at the independent Northamptonshire school.

Player pleaded not guilty to all the charges of cruelty to a person aged under 16 against him at Ipswich Crown Court on Thursday.

He was told by Judge Rupert Overbury that his trial would take place in August next year.

Player was granted unconditional bail until his next court appearance.

Three other former members of staff at the school, which accommodated children with emotional and behavioural problems, are also to stand trial alongside Player and face the same charge.

Michael Watts, 57, of Netley Abbey, Southampton pleaded not guilty to six offences; Gerald West, 69, of Gislingham, Suffolk, pleaded not guilty to ten offences and Graham Hallett,65, of Aldcliffe, Lancaster, pleaded not guilty to one offence.


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