DETECTIVES investigating allegations of child cruelty at a school in Wirral have today (Thursday, July 4) arrested a fourth man.

An investigation was launched after the BBC broadcast video footage recorded by an undercover journalist at LIFE Wirral school on June 17.

A 50-year-old man from Birkenhead was arrested this morning on suspicion of child cruelty. He has been taken into custody to be interviewed.

Yesterday (Wednesday), a 43-year-old man from Meols, a 21-year-old man from Wallasey and a 26-year-old man from Irby have been arrested on suspicion of child cruelty. They were taken into custody to be interviewed and have now been conditionally bailed.

Enquiries into the matter are ongoing.

In disturbing footage captured by the BBC's Panorama programme, staff at LIFE Wirral school in Wallasey were seen mocking children's disabilities, using homophobic language and physically manhandling pupils, including grabbing one child in a headlock. 

Reporter Sasha Hinde posed as a work experience student at the school where she filmed and recorded the shocking behaviour of a number of staff.

The footage included staff using homophobic and sexist language towards pupils with one male employee calling a boy a "ponce" to his face and describing him as a "batty boy".

In one excerpt of the programme, Ms Hinde was shown talking to the school's CEO, Alastair Saverimutto, who described to her how he had used a police-style restraint on a pupil.

The Children’s Commissioner for England in response to reports by the BBC Panorama investigation Undercover School: Cruelty in the Classroom, said: "I’m appalled by the reports of children being bullied, mocked and put in a headlock at Life Wirral. No child should be treated so cruelly by any adult, and the footage captured in the BBC’s investigation is shocking to watch.

"My office is investigating how safeguarding concerns are handled, particularly involving vulnerable children – because we have seen that sadly this is not an isolated issue.

"My thoughts are with the families and children affected. Any of them who wish to can contact Help at Hand for advice and assistance:"