PLAYGROUND bullies brutally kicked a schoolgirl in the face and uploaded video footage of the shocking attack on the internet.

The young victim, who attends the Deanes School, in Daws Heath Road, Thundersley, is pushed, punched and dragged to the floor before being repeatedly kicked in the face during the 30 second clip, which has since been removed from video-sharing site YouTube.

The girl, who had to be taken to hospital after the assault, was thought to have been attacked because of the colour of her hair.

However, investigations are being carried out into other possible issues among the group involved that led to the incident on Monday, March 25.

It was witnessed by a crowd of youngsters during break time, with some even egging the bullies on as they set upon the victim - one schoolboy is heard shouting “let her have it”.

The pupils involved in the attack have now been expelled and both the school and police are carrying out investigations.

Jan Atkinson, headteacher, said: “The school is treating this incident very seriously and is taking action against those involved.

“The students concerned, including the student who uploaded the video, will not be returning to the school.

“The incident happened during break time and was dealt with by a senior member of staff.

“The victim was taken to hospital to be checked out. She had some bruising but is fine and has since returned to school.

“I have spoken to the parents of the students involved and they are confident the school will deal with the situation in the right way.”

An Essex Police spokeswoman said police visited the school after receiving two calls from members of the public who had viewed the shocking video on YouTube.

She said: “Officers visited the school and urged the victim to come forward to report the attack. They are speaking with the victim at the moment and liaising with the school."

A blanket ban on mobile phones has been introduced at the school in the wake of the attack.

In a letter to parents on Wednesday, March 27 headteacher Jan Atkinson said since September there had been two incidents involving the use of mobiles, which have brought about the decision.

From April 15 they, along with other electronic devices, will be banned completely, including during break and lunch times.

Mrs Atkinson explained the reasons for the ban are:

• Disruption to learning in lessons by a minority of students.

• Irresponsible use, including videoing others without permission, which is against the law.

• The speed at which items are posted on social networking sites.

• The need to protect, not only the reputation of the school, but more importantly individuals within our school community.

• The possibility of mobile phones being used for bullying.

She said: “We work incredibly hard as a school to ensure the safety and welfare of all of our students.

“All students have been made aware of the dangers of cyber bullying through our pastoral and PCE programmes.

“It is important that we ensure safeguarding is paramount.”