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Assault at work

A teacher’s story

A science teacher turned to our legal experts for support after an assault at work caused him both physical injuries and severe psychological trauma leaving him unable to teach.

The incident happened while he was taking a class in a London school.

He said: “Following a previous incident, the pupil was suspended for three days and I was reassured that they would no longer take part in my classes.”

However, when the pupil was back at school, he turned up at our client’s lesson.

“When I saw him at the beginning of class, I made the point that he shouldn’t be there and asked him to leave and he walked out and shut the door. I then had my back to the door and hadn’t realised that he’d come back into the room. The rest is a bit of a blur as he attacked me again.

“The worst thing is that the school knew this pupil was a danger. It wasn’t the first time he had been violent – he had been violent to both other children and teachers.”

The teacher who has a PhD in neuro-oncology (a study of the brain) had dedicated his life to education ever since he migrated to the UK from Turkey. The attack left him with severe psychological trauma and saw him being sectioned twice under the Mental Health Act for his own safety. He also succumbed to a gambling addiction as a coping mechanism, which resulted in the breakdown of the relationship with his partner.

To add to his stress the parents of the pupil who attacked him filed a complaint with the police, later declared as unfounded - accusing our client of assaulting their son.

As a member of NASUWT, Thompsons Solicitors was able to support the teacher through his ordeal, which led to a six-figure pay out.

He said: “There were so many times when I wanted to give up on it all but my solicitor, Joanne, was so understanding and encouraging. It didn’t matter how bad I was feeling, she would offer words of comfort and support. I’m grateful to her and very happy that she helped me through it.”

Joanne Soccard, one of Thompsons’ specialist personal injury solicitors, who managed the case, said: “Our client came to this country with nothing and dedicated years to education working towards a better life for him and his family. In return, the management of the school where he worked ignored glaring safety issues and he was left in an unsafe working environment. The consequence for him was a vicious avoidable assault, the breakdown of his relationship and years of trauma. He will never teach again and that is wrong on so many levels. I just hope the financial settlement gives him space and time to regroup and create a new future with his son.

“The NASUWT supplied vital information that was instrumental in the case’s success highlighting yet another significant benefit of trade union membership.”

Patrick Roach, from NASUWT, said: “This member’s experience proves yet again that if pupil behaviour isn’t managed it can have a devastating impact on the health and well-being of teachers and their ability to work. While I am pleased that our member has been compensated for this attack, it should never have happened in the first place.”