Concerns have been raised about a Basingstoke school's handling of racism after members of staff used a racial slur.

Pupils at The Vyne School were left upset and distressed after the school's headteacher Nicola Pearce and two colleagues said a racial slur while discussing tensions within the school. 

The headteacher has written a letter to the school community to say she was taken “out of context”.

Students and parents have told The Gazette they have concerns about the school’s handling of racist incidents as a number of pupils staged a protest today, calling on the headteacher to apologise. 

According to one student who remains unnamed, they were suspended after confronting a white pupil for using a racial slur. This account has been corroborated by multiple sources.

The white student was not sanctioned and students claim teachers, including the headteacher, defended her conduct as "freedom of speech".

Teigan Yates, aged 15 and in year 11, approached Miss Pearce to discuss the suspension of one of her classmates.

She told The Gazette: "Our school does not know how to handle [these incidents]. It is absolutely ridiculous. I was so angry about it and I had to do something.

"I confronted my headteacher and the way she explained it was that people had different views. We are absolutely appalled. If they are taught to use this word it needs to go. I think it is disgusting and I would be angry if I was a person of colour."

Ashlee Ramsey, aged 15, in year 11, said: “Even without Miss Pearce saying the n word, there has been a lot of racist incidents that I have experienced and nothing gets sorted. Some people are fed up. Some people are outrage.”

She added that going to school sometimes felt “frightening”.

In a separate incident, a source close to the school told this newspaper that one student recently said he wanted to "join the army to kill *******" but was not punished.

The Gazette has asked the school if this incident has been referred to as a safeguarding concern.

The source said: “There are Muslim pupils at the school and that is a massive safeguarding issue for their welfare.”

The headteacher did not wish to comment.

The Gazette understands the headteacher is due to address students tomorrow where an apology is anticipated. 

Hampshire County Council and Ofsted have been contacted for comment.