A SCHOOL secretary who was found guilty of hitting a pupil has been ordered to carry out unpaid work.

Jane Farmer, who had denied assaulting a boy at Arnewood School in the New Forest, was sentenced at Southampton Magistrates’ Court yesterday.

The court heard how Farmer, 57, of Brook Avenue, New Milton, was of previous good character but had smacked the young boy.

Ryan Seneviratne, prosecutor, said: “The defendant was found guilty on the basis that voices were raised and witnesses heard the sound of a smack.”

He told the court the incident happened on January 22 this year.

Mr Seneviratne said the victim was being disruptive, was disturbing other pupils and was asked to move from one room to another.

“Mrs Farmer slapped him on his upper right arm and he left,” Mr Seneviratne said.

“A young man should have been able to be in school and not suffer an assault by anyone,”he added.

The court heard how the victim did not suffer any lasting injury but the incident was aggravated by the fact that it happened in the school and was witnessed by other people.

Charles Cochand, defending, told the court Farmer’s behaviour was unusual and said she was trusted by other employees.

“She was not angry, distressed or upset when the incident happened. She always accepted there was contact but said [the victim] was not stable on his feet,” he added.

Mr Cochand said the incident has had a “considerable impact” on Farmer’s life.

“She has lost her job, she no longer works in a school environment and with children. She’s unable to work in a field where she has been comfortable and worked for many years,” Mr Cochand said.

Farmer’s former line manager, Janet White, told the court Farmer had always been empathetic.

“Jane always made it very important to other invigilators to look after students,”she added.

Lead magistrate David Howells said magistrates felt there was no lasting injury and compensation to the victim was not appropriate.

Sentencing, he added: “We are particularly aware of your previous good character. This was out of character and we do take that into account.”

Farmer was told to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work and pay £620 prosecution cost and an £85 victim surcharge.