24/02/2012 05:10 GMT | Updated 24/02/2012 08:32 GMT

Primary School Headteacher Clive Close Defends 'Fake Kidnapping' In Front Of Students

The headteacher who staged a kidnap hoax in front of his primary school pupils has defended his actions, saying the incident was "sensationalised" by the media.

Clive Close, of Wincheap Foundation Primary, Kent, was the subject of several articles claiming he had been "blasted" by parents and students had been "scared stiff".

But Close told The Huffington Post UK the stunt had been "manipulated to produce a story".

"The saying never let the truth get in the way of a good story has never been more apt," he said. "They [the papers] have gone out of their way to sensationalise the story."

Despite reports parents had fired criticism at Close, the headteacher said he had not received "a single complaint" from a child, parent or member of staff.

"The Daily Mail quoted a parent in their article. There is no parent of that name at this school."

"In fact," Close added, "we have used the articles for another writing exercise. The children have been spotting all the inaccuracies and grammar mistakes in the Daily Mail piece."

The kidnap stunt involved Close arriving at the school in a car and using a water tap to grab the site manager and "abduct" him. The Year 6 pupils had to write an eye-witness account of what they had seen as part of a writing exercise.

One parent wrote to the head saying the kidnap role play was "imaginative".

"Everything I hear and observe about your, and the school's, approach and the astonishing turnaround that you've achieved at Wincheap since you started, gives me every confidence in the education my daughter is receiving."

The father, whose daughter is in reception at the school, added: "It is particularly pleasing to think of year 6 pupils dissecting a Daily Mail story for inaccuracy and manipulation!

"I very much doubt that you would - but please do not let this small minded idiocy distract you or discourage you."

The school, whose attendance problems were noted by Ofsted in its last report, has now had a 100% attendance record since the exercise.

"We had one problematic group of boys who didn't attend lessons but they have now all been coming to class," Close said.

Ten-year-old pupil Alex Chapman told the local paper, which was invited in to the school specifically to document the stunt, he was not fooled.

"I prefer learning like this because it makes it more exciting and makes you want to write about it more."