IT HAS emerged that the incident in which Ridgeway School pupil Henry Webster was attacked with what is believed to be a hammer may have been a planned fight.

It is thought the 15-year-old may have agreed to meet another boy on the school's tennis courts for a pre-arranged scuffle.

After the incident last Thursday police in Swindon have called meetings with headteachers and councillors to look at security arrangements and ensure last week's incident is not repeated.

A teenager has appeared in court in connection with the incident, when Henry was set upon by a gang armed with a hammer and hit repeatedly over the head.

The 17-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was remanded in custody during a brief hearing at Swindon Magistrates' Court on Saturday morning after being charged with causing grievous bodily harm.

Eight males, aged between 14 and 20, were arrested an hour after the attack took place on the Wroughton school grounds on Thursday afternoon.

Six of the eight have been released on police bail, pending further inquiries and a seventh, aged 18, has been released and will have no further action taken against him.

The boy, dressed in a white T-shirt and blue tracksuit bottoms, stood outside the dock and was accompanied by his father.

Prosecutor Dennis Scully told the court that Henry and the defendant had agreed to a fight after school.

"They met for that fight at the tennis courts, and a large group of people attended, including a number of adults and there was an assault," he said.

"He was attacked and struck three or four times with a large metal implement, believed to be a hammer. That has not been recovered."

Mr Scully added that the accused boy was believed to be involved in a gang.

Sambreen Arif, defending, said that tensions were running high since the attack.

Chairman of the bench Angie Watts remanded the teenager in court and he is due to reappear today at Swindon Youth Court.

After the hearing, a spokesman for the accused's family said: "We are concerned and devastated about what happened and our hearts and thoughts go out to the victim.

"We just hope he makes a speedy recovery."

Henry is still in Bristol's Frenchay hospital having undergone surgery. Doctors say he is making good progress despite having been left with a fractured skull, lacerations above his right eye and a broken hand. He is also thought to have suffered a brain injury and has undergone surgery.

As previously reported, Henry lives with him mother Elizabeth and her partner Roger Durnford, 42, and his younger brother Joe, 12, in Beranburghfield, Wroughton.

Police say they will be continuing their presence in the area around the school today as a precaution.

They said, while the eight arrested males were all of ethnic minorities, the motive for the assault is believed to be personal rather than racial.

However, they said they were paying close attention to any community impact due to the different ethnicities involved.

Officers also said that there was nothing to link the assault to a previous incident at the school in May last year.

Superintendent Kevin Maidment, of Swindon police, said: "In view of the seriousness of the incident and the potential effects on our wider community a meeting of partner agencies and community leaders was held at Gablecross police station."

The meeting was chaired by Chief Superintendent Andy Tatum and involved headteachers, councillors and community leaders, as well as South Swindon MP Anne Snelgrove.

Supt Maidment added: "Communities across Swindon are reassured that this type of incident is rare and we are working more closely than ever with partner agencies and communities to create a safer Swindon."

Another meeting about the incident is due to take place tomorrow.