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Aggressive Behaviour

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by LollipopMum, Nov 17, 2015.

  1. LollipopMum

    LollipopMum New commenter

    Does anyone know where I stand? I have been attacked 3 times by a boy with emotional difficulties, as have at least 3 other members of staff. He has been repeatedly excluded, finally permanently, but due to a technicality he may be allowed to return. Are we with our rights to refuse to teach him or do we have to smile and take it on the chin (so to speak!) Thank you for taking the trouble to read.
  2. Morninglover

    Morninglover Star commenter

    I presume this pupil is under 10 years old (if not, I'd be reporting these assaults to the police). If he is under 10 I'd be speaking with my Union, getting their support to demand an exhaustive risk assessment is carried out and the school finds a way to guarantee you are not assaulted again. If his wan't forthcoming, I think I would refuse to teach him, whatever the rules say...
  3. monicabilongame

    monicabilongame Star commenter

    What age is he? (Not that that matters but it might have to be taken into account).

    Health & Safety measures to keep the staff and other students safe? Are these being address?
    Risk assessments in place for working with this child?

    Do you work alone with him, or in the classroom with others? Is he aggressive with everyone or just the staff? Is he aggressive in the classroom or just around the school? Does it happen during social time?

    Nobody has to 'smile and take it on the chin' in my book, and if the boy is of secondary school age and I was being attacked by him I would be refusing to teach him unless safety measures (for me) were in place, and I would also be talking to the police if it kept happening and nothing was being done in the school to protect me.
    Flere-Imsaho and Dragonlady30 like this.
  4. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    You and your colleagues would have to threaten industrial action and conduct a ballot prior to taking such action.

    I would expect the school not to put him on a full timetable. I'd be amazed if he weren't put in isolation. What provision has been made?

    Everyone ought to be up in arms about this. Surely the HT is doing all s/he can to ensure this doesn't happen. Keep talking, keep agitating. Contact your union.
    Yoda- likes this.
  5. GLsghost

    GLsghost Star commenter

    Union involvement necessary, I think.

    Your contract of employment implies a common law duty on your employer to provide a safe place of work and protect you from an unnecessary risk of harm or injury.

    If you have been assaulted by a child your employer has a duty to protect you from further harm. Even if you were to work in a school for children with extreme behaviour problems, you should be able to expect that policies and procedures are sufficient to keep you safe.
    Vince_Ulam likes this.
  6. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    Do contact urgently your union - regional or national office - over the H&S risk here. As @monicabilongame says, there are things that the school should have done (Risk assessment), and as @GLsghost says, there are things that it should be doing now.

    The safety of pupils and staff, and of anyone else on school premises, is a major duty of the Headteacher.

    So union, smartish!

    Best wishes

  7. LollipopMum

    LollipopMum New commenter

    Thank you everyone. Will follow your advice. The boy is only 8 but likes 'weapons'. We feel desperately sorry for the boy but cannot help him if we are at risk of being hurt.
    spursfan50 likes this.
  8. spursfan50

    spursfan50 New commenter

    I was employed as support for a boy who sounds similar. He is 5 and we are having instances of violence and aggression, starting only recently, so although I may not be able to offer advice I do understand your situation, somewhat.

    He bites, scratches, punches, kicks etc. Should we be expected to deal with such things, or should I, being as I am employed to work and support only this child, be expected to deal as such.

    Sorry to piggy-back on your post.
  9. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    These lads are going to be strapping teens some day soon. They won't be in mainstream by then. Funny how the magic disappearance occurs after years of staff in primary schools being kicked and bitten and scratched and punched and, what's almost worse, told that it's part of the job and that everyone ELSE accepts it!
  10. circuskevin

    circuskevin Established commenter

    You want to help him?

    How about sums on stilts!

    The odds are you could divert his aggressive behaviour into learning unusual physical skills.

    Hands free stiltwalking is one possibility. After he has got the hang of that you dress him up. Stilt trousers of course. Clown coat, wig and glasses if you like.

    Next take him on a tour of the school. Interrupt a class. He shows off his skills and the visited class applauds. Next you invite pupils to give him sums to do ... 5+3, 8+2, 12-6 ... type of thing. Even if he has to use his fingers to do the counting he will be keen to show off his prowess.

    Just one implementation of the general principal of diverting surplus energy in a productive fashion.

  11. varcolac

    varcolac Occasional commenter


    I don't even...


    The children are biting people. One of them has an interest in using weapons to hurt their peers and teachers. Are you seriously suggesting they get him dressed up as Bonko the Clown and teach him to walk on stilts?

    The thing is, I'm sure you are serious. That's even more troubling.
    Ezzie and grumpydogwoman like this.
  12. monicabilongame

    monicabilongame Star commenter

    Safeguarding concern. What's going on at home? Contact Social Services!
    sanneme, varcolac and kent1 like this.
  13. sofia_sen

    sofia_sen Occasional commenter

    I don't really understand your post. Are you implying it's not part of the job for mainstream teachers but it is for special teachers (since that is where they disappear to probably).

    @LollipopMum I would find out what is causing this behaviour. Something wrong at home? Something wrong with the boy? Has he been like this for years or has something happened recently? There should be a risk assessment in place so you, others around him, and the boy himself are safe. I would also recommend going on a Team Teach course or similar training so you have some tools to use if he attacks again.
    I hope the school is supporting you and him to be safe!
  14. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Just sounding off about the things teachers have to tolerate day after day.

    I'm a veteran in Special Schools and I was told to accept aggressive behaviour because one of my colleagues had scratch marks embedded in her skin over several years so it should be good enough for me too! No. I didn't sign up for that. Although a lot of teachers in all settings do just get on with it. I wasn't one of them.

    If we all kicked off about it on each and every occasion then HTs would simply have to do more. But they don't make it easy as it's not in your interest to record every incident because you'd do nothing but complete forms/reports.

    I think we can all spot 'em. THOSE kids. The (mercifully) few who are virtually unteachable. No idea how you change them though.
    sanneme likes this.
  15. sofia_sen

    sofia_sen Occasional commenter

    I understand what you mean and it made me think about my own position. I do consider it part of the job if you are working with SEN children. Just like having to change nappies or other less pleasant things.
    Almost every incident gets reported, unless there are multiple incidents per day. In that case we use a tick sheet.
    Of course I don't like it that my hands, arms and legs are scratched and bruised. This year I have one particular boy who is quite agressive on a daily basis. I get support from the school's OT, the behaviour team and I work closely with the parents. I am not sure what the HT could do to improve the situation and honestly, the HT would be the last person that I would go to.
    I have hope that this student might change. If not, I don't see what more can be done than what we are doing right now. And I do feel supported by the school, that makes a huge difference as well.
    Thank you for your reply!
  16. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    It's good that you feel supported. I simply couldn't cope with aggression. Luckily I rarely encountered it. Certainly not physical aggression.

    I was angry when one of my lads started waging a campaign against one of the girls. Pushing her over whenever he could. These are students aged 16 to 18. So he was 'on the spectrum'.......So what.

    She deserved to be safe in school. I got very cross about it. I can't remember how I handled it now. Probably put one of my TAs with him 1-to-1 and kept him out of the way. Which is OK if you have the staff.
  17. Sid_Pubes

    Sid_Pubes Senior commenter

    Several posters have nailed at least one important aspect of this problem - the gutlessness of your head-teacher. Far too many of them spend their time polishing the seats of their trousers in pointless meetings what time their schools are left to sink or swim. Next time this child kicks off, he should be restrained by as many staff as it takes and taken to the head-teacher's office and left there - "your problem, sir or ma'am, we've run out of ideas". Send an email within fifteen minutes reporting your action to the chair of your governors and the CEO of your LEA if you have one, and RESIST EVERY ATTEMPT on the part of your HT to return him to a classroom. For £60K a year he should be able to come up with something.

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