A DEPUTY headteacher who was cleared of slapping an ‘unruly’ pupil has stepped down at a Great Harwood primary school.

Royden Cope was found not guilty of assaulting a pupil at St Bartholomew’s CE Primary School by Blackburn Magistrates’ Court in August.

An internal investigation was carried out at the school.

And now, the Ash Street school has confirmed that Mr Cope has left the school.

Mark Mackley, headteacher at St Bartholomew’s, said: “After careful deliberation, Mr Cope has decided that he will not be returning to his position of deputy headteacher and has left the employment of the school with effect from 31 January, 2013.”

A Lancashire County Council spokeswoman said any allegation had to be investigated.

She confirmed that an internal investigation had been carried out by the school, but refused to comment further.

During the court case in August, Mr Cope told magistrates he had to restrain a pupil displaying the ‘worst behaviour’ he had seen in a child in his 41 years as a teacher.

Mr Cope, of Hatfield Road, Accrington, had been accused of restraining the boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, by the wrists and then slapping him across the face when he did not calm down.

The 63-year-old denied the charge, saying that because the youngster was ‘flailing and strugg-ling to get away’, the boy’s head had collided with his hand.