HENRY Webster’s mother has said an investigation into how her son was brutally assaulted at school is the first hope for the family in two years since the attack.

Liz Webster has been pleading for a far-reaching inquiry to be carried out for 18 months.

Last month, after a meeting with schools minister Ed Balls, she learned questions would finally be asked of Ridgeway School, Swindon Council and the police over the affair.

Liz said: “Henry just wants it all to be over and is frustrated that everything has been so slow.

“He just wants to know when it is going to be over, but this is the first positive news we have had.”

Thirteen young men were been convicted for their role in the attack, which left the 15-year-old with brain damage.

Since writing to the Prime Minister in autumn 2007, Liz has met with representatives for the Department for Children, Schools and Families.

On January 15 she met schools secretary Ed Balls who recommended the inquiry.

“He was outraged that nothing had been done and that it hadn’t been investigated immediately.

“When the judge made her comments that the school had no staff on duty at the time of the attack I thought ‘now they’ve got to sit up and take notice. But nothing was ever done.”

The review, which is expected to take around four months will look into the actions of all the agencies involved in the lead up and aftermath of the hammer attack, which left Henry, then 15, permanently brain damaged.

Henry was hit with the claw end of a hammer as he was set upon by the gang on the school’s tennis courts on January 2007 and was left with three skull fractures.

"The responsibility and extreme worry of caring for a child with a brain injury has been exhausting,” said Liz.

“But if this had happened to Henry in a care home, if a train had crashed leaving him with similar injuries, if he'd been attacked in prison or if this had happened to him at home, it would have been investigated immediately.

“He is still at risk of developing epilepsy because the part of his brain that was damaged doesn't mature until you're 20.

“He has a tremor on his left side and difficulties with short-term memory - severe fatigue and difficulties with concentration.

“All we are asking for is transparency and honesty and we have never had that before.”

The family is also suing the school for unlimited damages for failing to protect Henry while he was in its care. They expect to take the case to court in the autumn.

The Webster family’s solicitor Mark McGhee said: “There should have been some form of an independent investigation immediately after the attack. There wasn’t.

Since then Henry’s mother Liz has had to fight for some form of an independent inquiry.”

Ridgeway headteacher Steve Colledge said he welcomed the investigation.

“Ultimately it is a review and we look forward to cooperating and bringing the matter to a conclusion,” he said.

A spokeswoman from the Department for Children Schools and Families said: “This is not the first time that a Serious Case Review has been conducted involving a school, though the circumstances of this terrible attack are unusual.

“Serious Case Reviews are not about blame. They are intended to establish what lessons can be learnt from an individual tragedy such as this, and then to ensure that they are.

“At the time of the incident, carrying out a Serious Case Review was not considered.

“However, the local authority and the Local Safeguarding Children Board have decided that a review is now appropriate. The Department supports that decision.”

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