A former Ipswich headteacher accused of professional misconduct has said students were always supervised as he rejected suggestions of denying students their liberty.

Odran Doran gave further answers to an ongoing teacher misconduct hearing into his and Simon Black's leadership at The Bridge School in Ipswich.

In 2017, safeguarding concerns related to the use of a classroom locking system were raised by Ofsted officers towards the pair after the school’s “good” rating slid to “inadequate” amid further staff suspensions.   

The Bridge School, which caters for around 150 pupils with learning difficulties, had a number of calming rooms that, at the time of inspection, were provided with door locks. 

On the second day of the resumed hearing, Mr Doran was questioned by a representative for the Teaching Regulation Agency who asked him if locking a door "denies somebody of their liberty". 

Ipswich Star: Odran Doran, who was headteacher at The Bridge School for around 20 years, has been suspended since October 2017Odran Doran, who was headteacher at The Bridge School for around 20 years, has been suspended since October 2017 (Image: Gregg Brown)

Mr Doran said the word should be “restricts” not “denies” and that “restricting means partial whereas denying is total”.

It was put to him that there was evidence suggesting the students were not always supervised when in the calming rooms, however, Mr Doran firmly rejected this.

He told the hearing: “I disagree, I don’t know where the evidence is that students weren’t supervised.

“Students were always supervised.” 

It was put to him that the practice of putting students in calming rooms was isolating.

He replied: “No because a member of staff was always there.

“If something is isolating it means they are on their own.”

It was also put to Mr Doran on Tuesday that bean bags were used to help restrain students after bean bags were mentioned in several student incident reports. 

“I wouldn’t say very readily no.” He replied.

Mr Doran previously told the hearing about de-esculation techniques used. 

These included ‘wobble cushions’ which meant the child had to work to keep themselves steady in a chair so they could avoid thinking too much about having a sensory overload.

There were also spaces for children to bounce up and down inside to help block out sensory issues.

The hearing continues.