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Being hit at work

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by SS7514, Feb 6, 2017.

  1. SS7514

    SS7514 New commenter


    I'm fairly new to all this and it's quite long-winded so I apologise in advance! - I started as a teaching assistant in September 2016 after graduating university to see if I like it enough to commence my Teacher training this Sept.The school I'm at has a whole new leadership team and Head that started at the same time as me.
    I started off the year fine in a Year 6 class and was really enjoying it, then in Nov I was signed off work for 2 weeks after having an emergency operation and it has all gone downhill from there. On my first day back they basically told me I'd be moving classes to a different year group and working as a one to one with a child who is on the pathway to being diagnosed with autism. I wasn't overly confident with this as I've no experience of SEN but they didn't give me a choice to refuse.
    They changed my timetable and cut my lunch hour down to half an hour without my consent, it was all just done for me and expected that I would just get on with things.
    Now over the last two weeks the child I've been assigned to has been regularly exploding and trashing classrooms and has been hitting and kicking me. I tried to just carry on as normal until last week when he threw a whiteboard at me which caught me right beside my eye (my doctor has actually said I was lucky it wasn't another few inches over). Obviously I've had bruising to my eye and haven't felt able to go into work since the incident so I emailed my Head about the fact I now feel like I can't work with this child because it's causing me anxiety on the first day of my absence. I didn't even get an email reply or phone call on my first day off and that left me feeling like they didn't care about what happened.
    I finally had a meeting with the Head at the end of last week and was basically told that I have no choice but to continue working with this child. They haven't given me any other alternative and I'm now at a complete loss. I feel like they blame me for what has happened and because I'm so inexperienced I'm now feeling like this is the norm in a lot of schools.

    I'm just wondering if anyone could advise me on what to do next as I feel so stressed and upset over what has happened and haven't been able to face work since. I actually left the meeting with the Head in tears because they won't do anything for me.
  2. mrmatt73

    mrmatt73 Occasional commenter

    I trust you are part of a union. They will be able to advise you if the Head is not doing anything to help ,,, they have a duty of care.
    Ask the class teacher what strategies you may be able to use with the child. Ask the SENCo (if you have one) for advice.
  3. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    Report the child to the police?

    And, of course, get Union advice.
    Dragonlady30 and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  4. stonerose

    stonerose Occasional commenter

  5. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Dragonlady30, SS7514 and stonerose like this.
  6. foxtail3

    foxtail3 Star commenter

    Apart from anything else, it's very difficult to deal with a child with those kinds of difficulties, without training, information and support. It's unfair to expect an inexperienced member of staff to know what to do.

    My experience has been that, if you are 1-1, there is an expectation that you are superglued to the child and it is your responsibility. This is unrealistic and unfair, but you will always be told that the other children have a right not to have their learning disrupted. That's true, of course, but I would say that there needs to be some training for all the staff who has dealings with the child.

    I was a TA for a while, as a fill in and had similar experiences with a child who trashed the classroom etc. The difference was that I had 20 years experience in SEND of various types.

    I would do what @grumpydogwoman suggests, look at the accident log, make a written record of everything that happened and tell the head that you feel you need training if you are expected to work with this child.

    But keeping written records and contacting the union should be the first thing.
  7. stonerose

    stonerose Occasional commenter

    Agree on the advice here. Union contact is vital if you are a member. Make contact without delay.
    I would just add one more thing. Visit your GP a.s.a.p. Have the assault put on your notes - medical evidence is very important and is respected should you need to take this further. Take immediate responsibility for your own health and well-being- both physical and mental - because I can almost guarantee the school despite its duty of care is going to favour the child's care over yours.

    Take pictures of your injuries and back them up safely. Don't just rely on the police if you go. Write down the account of what has happened and keep it and although this sounds a bit alarmist but don't 'volunteer' any info to the school without appropriate representation present. Cosy little chats with SMTs end up by being anything but, if the school feels threatened. The institution will put itself first and you much further down the line.

    If you are a member of the union and your school has a rep. sadly I would recommend that you by- pass them, and call you union on a direct phone line for the following reasons.

    # a union rep is not always as experienced as they need to be with the law. Very often their chief role is merely to pass on info. or attend to admin. You will need much more than this.

    # I am aware of circumstances where the rep. has been in league with the SMT of the school, and may operate in their best interest not yours i.e. an up-coming promotion.

    Finally, if you are not feeling well do not go into school. The school may argue that your attendance somehow indicates that they thought you were up to it. YOUR HEALTH IS IMPORTANT. DON'T TAKE RISKS WITH IT. If your G.P. is sympathetic he/she could sign you off.
    Best of luck and please look after yourself.:):)
  8. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Please report this to the HSE.

    If this boy has regularly been behaving as you describe then all those incidents should have been recorded. The employer has failed in its duty of care.
    Shedman, Dragonlady30 and stonerose like this.
  9. sagesund

    sagesund Occasional commenter

    Firstly, am so sorry to hear of your dreadful experience. I had a very similar experience a few years ago, when I was assaulted by a pupil. I later found out that this pupil had also assaulted other staff - but it was kept quiet. I saw my GP immediately, who signed me off. I had some counselling, which helped (the Head was unsupportive about this, as well as my absence). When I returned to school, I was forced to work again with this pupil. Ultimately, I resigned. Oh, and Union were pretty useless, too. I would look for another job, if at all possible.
    Shedman, stonerose and SS7514 like this.
  10. SS7514

    SS7514 New commenter

    Thankyou for all your replies it's so reassuring to know I'm not being completely crazy. I've been to the my GP today and they have signed me off for 2 weeks which takes me until half term.
    I have to say I'm feeling very disheartened and my family are urging me not to complete my Teacher training in September in light of what's happened so I'm feeling very conflicted.
  11. NewToTeachingOldToMaths

    NewToTeachingOldToMaths Lead commenter

    Indeed. RIDDOR springs to mind ...
    stonerose and grumpydogwoman like this.
  12. shevington

    shevington Occasional commenter

    No mention yet, whether SS7514 is in a Union . At this point the Union ,should be checking ,whether the school had filled in the accident book/incident form, has the school filled in the RIDDOR form for the HSE. She been giving advice on whether the member should be making a claim against the school. I also throw in RISK ASSESSMENT of the pupil and reporting the matter to the police. Also SS7514 is off work, because of a working place accident which give them, much protection if they have time off .
    stonerose likes this.
  13. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    This is the sort of thing that drives people away from the job. It's absolutely scandalous.

    I taught students with ASD for the last 12 years of my career so I know what can happen. I don't want to demonise anyone but the public deserves to be protected. It is not the fault of the staff. The child could be alarmed by another pupil or environmental noise. You can't tell the staff they should have done things differently. If a child has a disorder so profound that someone has been injured then we must have a radical rethink.
    Dragonlady30, stonerose and SS7514 like this.
  14. SS7514

    SS7514 New commenter

    Luckily I am part of GMB and I have made contact with them today about what has happened which has made me feel a bit better about the situation. I'm completely at a loss as I'm now worried that being signed off with workplace stress will hinder me in the future if I enter the field as a Teacher even though I didn't ask for any of this to happen!
    stonerose likes this.
  15. Lalad

    Lalad Star commenter

    Don't do anything hasty - there are lots of lovely schools and it would be a shame to burn your bridges just because this school is irresponsible.
  16. Lalad

    Lalad Star commenter

    You have been signed off following an assault, which should make no difference to a prospective employer.
    stonerose and grumpydogwoman like this.
  17. SS7514

    SS7514 New commenter

    Thanks, I'm hoping that if I do get asked about why I was signed off any future Heads will be sympathetic and understand! I feel like I would never have been in this situation if they had offered me some alternatives and some support.
  18. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    It's not a matter of luck that you're in the GMB. It's a sign of your common sense!

    Don't worry about its effect on applications for training. See what @Lalad said.
  19. hhhh

    hhhh Lead commenter

    Perhaps this child needs to be in a special school, with support from specially trained staff-this is for the SLT to deal with.
    To say 'he shouldn't be allowed to disrupt the other children, so we'll just stick him with an untrained TA' is unfair to the child, the other children, and you.
    I've known some lovely kids who have become horrors due to being needled by kids who hit out and kick like this.
    stonerose and SS7514 like this.
  20. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Definitely do the training. You don't have to end up teaching in a school such as this, there are a great many others which are fabulous places to work.

    I've been at it for just over 20 years and have met the odd pupil who would have put me off, and indeed the odd head who would. However, overall I'm very pleased I became a teacher and wouldn't swap any of it.

    Being signed off won't stop you getting on a course, nor completing it. Don't fret at all and get applying for that course.

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