School staff accidentally recorded themselves making jokes about girl

Mother’s fury after three school staff accidentally recorded themselves making ‘cruel’ jokes about her six-year-old daughter’s tracheostomy on Facebook Live

  • Staff at St Andrew’s CofE Primary School were talking about Willow Musgrave, 6  
  • She was born 16 weeks premature and her complex needs require 24-hour care
  • School apologised to mother Becky Wardiell, 34, who has sought legal advice
  • Video was streamed live to Facebook and has been watched by 12,000 people 

A furious mother has criticised a school after staff were overheard making jokes about her disabled six-year-old daughter in a video they live streamed on Facebook. 

The three female members of staff from St Andrew’s CofE Primary School, in Kettering, Northamptonshire, were talking about Willow Musgrave and the life-saving tracheostomy she has in her throat to help her breathe, which one said made her feel ‘queasy’.

Unknown to the staff – a teaching assistant and two teachers – a video was being broadcast live to Facebook at the time and was watched by more than 12,000 people.

The school has since apologised but Willow’s outraged mother Becky Wardiell, 34, said the video left her feeling ‘shocked and angry’.

Becky Wardiell, 34, the mother of six-year-old Willow Musgrave (pictured) is taking legal action against St Andrew’s CofE Primary School, in Kettering, after three staff members were overheard making jokes about her life-saving tracheostomy

The staff were using Facebook Live on Saturday as they prepared for a school trip when the conversation was accidentally picked up on the recording.

In the clip they discussed how teachers are asked to provide medical support for children with one heard to say: ‘The mask change for Willow. The mask fitting, it’s awful.’

Talking about helping with her tracheostomy, another said: ‘It makes me feel queasy. I couldn’t do it.’

Another said: ‘I don’t like even looking at it’, before one replied: ‘No I don’t. I know that’s really horrible.’

Towards the end of the conversation, laughter could be heard when one said: ‘You didn’t come into this to be changing tracheostomies.’

Willow had a tracheostomy fitted when she was four months old after she was born 16 weeks premature and still has complex health needs which require 24-hour care.

Ms Wardiell, who has four children, said: ‘Willow can’t defend herself. It’s not her fault she has a tracheostomy. It’s a life or death situation for her.

‘The school drums different values of the week into our children.

‘But then they have teaching staff who speak like that about a child with a disability, what values does that show?

‘My friend saw it on Facebook and was so outraged she sent me the link. I was so shocked and angry. I think I had every emotion going.’

The school is operated by the Peterborough Diocese Academy Trust.

A spokesman today told MailOnline: ‘Our school has a very strong community. We celebrate our successes collectively, and, when something happens that doesn’t meet the high standards that we set ourselves, we deal with those issues as openly and transparently as possible.

‘Over the weekend three staff members, who were together preparing for a school trip, appear to have accidentally shared a brief part of their conversation via Facebook Live. While talking about the planning, they discussed how teachers are asked to provide medical support for young people. In doing so, they also referenced one particular case in our school.

‘Every child who we are able to support from an educational, health and wellbeing perspective is very welcome in our community – irrespective of any challenges they may be facing. Clearly there are elements of this conversation that should not have taken place, and the fact that the discussion was accidentally shared to a wider audience is also deeply regrettable.

‘We have apologised to the family concerned, and we will we be addressing this in greater depth with the staff members concerned. We will also look at what additional training we can provide to help address any barriers about meeting the medical needs of our pupils.’

St Andrew’s CofE Primary School, in Kettering, apologised to Willow Musgrave and her mother after staff members were heard talking about the little girl’s tracheostomy in a video they live streamed to Facebook and which was watched by 12,000 people

The three members of staff have reportedly not returned to the school while it launches an investigation into their comments. 

Willow’s siblings and neighbours have learnt how to change her tube if it gets dislodged as 15 minutes of it being out could prove fatal.

Ms Wardiell added: ‘For three adults to stand there and speak about Willow like that is nasty.

‘Willow is the prettiest, happiest little girl.

‘People who are in a position where they care for children shouldn’t talk about her like that just because she has a disability.’

She has taken her case to Kettering-based solictors The Lawyer and The Nurse Ltd, who advocate for vulnerable children and adults.

Adam Cresswell, who is representing the family, said: ‘I fully accept that it was clearly never the intention for such cruel views to be shared on social media, but the fact remains that they were.

‘Of most concern is the tone of the conversation between the teaching staff which can only be described as incredibly ugly and more than a little unkind.

‘Within hours the video of the teachers’ conversation had been shared by over 10,000 people but it’s nice to see so many taking to social media to defend Willow, who battles with additional physical and learning needs on a daily basis but is nonetheless one of the happiest little kids you could ever meet.’

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