FIVE students have been excluded and “serious consequences” will be considered for another after an "horrific" assault on a schoolgirl was filmed.

Police confirmed they were called on Monday at 3.05pm following an incident at Vulcan Park in Workington.

A spokesman for the force said a 12-year-old girl was assaulted and sustained head injuries.

St Joseph’s Catholic High School confirmed the victim was a student at the school.

Jacky Kennedy, headteacher, said she had to take a hard line after the victim was manipulated to go to the park, where she was assaulted and filmed during the incident, with none of the 20 students present intervening.

She said activity on social media was at the start of the incident.

Miss Kennedy said: “On Monday a horrific incident occurred at Vulcan’s Park involving 20 students, mostly from Year 8. Some were in the wrong place at the wrong time, but a large number were there because they wanted to be.

“As a result, five students have been excluded and one will be considered for an even more serious consequence.

“Parents have been contacted and have been supportive. The victim of this incident was manipulated by other students to go to the park where she was set upon by another girl and filmed.

“A member of the public bravely intervened and comforted the victim.

“Young people will go with the crowd and not think of the consequences. Others will deliberately get involved. Some actively encourage this type of behaviour. Those that did this have been excluded.

“This is a school built on kindness and compassion, but none of the students went for help, none of the students let us know. That is why I have taken a hard line.

“Also, we were not surprised to learn that activity on social media over a weekend was at the beginning of this incident. Whilst social media is now part of everyday life, it can be very difficult for some students to deal with.

“But we need parents to be vigilant. Children will misuse social media and your expectations of use need to be clear.”

The statement was published on the school’s Facebook page and received many positive comments from parents, who were pleased to see the headteacher being open and transparent about the incident.

Miss Kennedy told the News & Star: “We thought a lot about whether to let everyone know about the incident. As a school we have learnt through Covid to strengthen our communication and feel this is an important part of it.

"Parents appreciate my daily updates, especially during such a challenging time for the community. It is very important that we are transparent about serious incidents and what we put in place as a consequence.

"Students make mistakes but they need to know there are serious repercussions. We are trying to support parents in teaching our pupils to be responsible, compassionate and kind.

“Highlighting the repercussions of such an incident, working with parents and being open where we can with our community will make students realise bad behaviour will not be tolerated.”

Police officers are encouraging anyone with information about the incident to contact them on 101, quoting incident number 129 of 21 September.

Alternatively you can contact Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.