Teacher Philippa Jones, who was falsely accused of hitting a pupil, yesterday slammed the lack of support given to state school tutors.

Speaking for the first time about her ordeal, the 56-year-old gave a damning testimony, saying: "I think many teachers have become used to abuse each day."

Ms Jones, of Edgewood Road, Kings Norton, was banned from working for several weeks after being falsely accused.

Finding it impossible to cope with the situation, she suffered a nervous breakdown and was forced to send her 11-year-old daughter Eleanor to live with her other daughter Laura, aged 28, while she recovered.

Ms Jones was cleared three weeks after the alleged attack at Watermill Primary School in Selly Oak, when the Crown Prosecution Service decided not to take the case further.

However, her ordeal did not end there.

In spite of the case being dropped, West Midlands Police took her fingerprints, a 'mugshot' and a DNA sample.

Last month she took the police to court, where the force finally accepted the evidence had been taken without "appropriate authority" and removed it from its database.

Ms Jones's troubles first began last May. Having already taught two year groups at Watermill Primary, the mother-of-two ignored the warnings of a learning assistant about the "rogue class" she was about to teach.

But a phone call from Bournville police station days later asking her to attend an interview meant Ms Jones's view that the day had gone well was far from true.

In addition to trying to get the samples removed, Ms Jones said she was told she was not allowed to work.

"I was not allowed to teach so as a supply teacher it meant I had no income," she said.

"The income I had been used to for several years suddenly diminished. What was really difficult was I sent my daughter to an independent school and had to make the decision to withdraw her and send her to another one.

"I was living on child benefits and a little bit of maintenance."

Ms Jones said it was important for other schools and teachers to learn from the incident.

Although she still teaches at state schools Ms Jones said she has become disillusioned with the state sector and the increasing attitude problem of many children.

She blamed larger class sizes and a lack of support for teachers dealing with disruptive children for the dropping standards in state primary schools.

The teacher, who has worked in more than 250 primary and special schools in Birmingham, said she had not received an apology from the school or from the child's family.

"I don't even know who he was. I only had the class for a morning," she said.

"It was a school I enjoyed going to. I had been there a year earlier and had taught reception and year one.

"During the half term I had a phone message from Bournville police station, saying would I contact them because there had been an incident in the school.

"They said it was nothing to worry about and they could not tell me what it was but they wanted me to attend an interview and I had to wait three weeks.

"As it was half term, I could not get in touch with my union and I was quite worried. I thought maybe I had not given out the scissors fairly, stepped on a toe or called a child by the wrong name.

"At the police station I was told that after school the boy had accused me of hitting him on the hand with a ruler.

"He said I told him 'hold out your hand boy' but I have never addressed a child as 'boy'. It is not the way the police dealt with it. It is the consequences that have upset me.

"You do not expect to be arrested and put in a cell and treated like a criminal. That is what I found so appalling.

"Generally I have a lot of admiration for teachers. They give an awful lot of their energy to children but our patience is really stretched at times.

"Some children's thoughtless actions can lead to illness and suffering to families and other children. I can't help thinking about children in poor countries where they really want to be educated.

"There is no way they would throw education back at you and I think many teachers have become used to abuse each day.

"At Christmas I was speaking to someone who was being attacked by some pupils. She dared not defend herself because she would have been accused of assault."