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I accidentally injured a pupil in football training, advice needed

Discussion in 'Physical education' started by ictLad, Feb 2, 2012.

  1. ictLad

    ictLad New commenter


    I have been involved in running a football squad at every school I
    have been at for the past five years and thoroughly enjoy being part of a
    sports squad. In my first job as NQT I was encouraged to get involved in the
    training sessions if I wanted to so long as I was never over aggressive in a
    challenge. I have continued to do this and have been witnessed doing so by my
    current schools Head of games/PE on many occasions when he comes out to take
    his rugby team. Indeed many other staff kick about with the pupils when they
    take football training sessions - nothing has ever been said to deter me or
    anyone else from being involved with the pupils during games sessions.

    Unfortunately yesterday when going up for a header a sixth former
    also challenged for the ball and I’m not sure how but he broke the right side
    of his collar bone - the rest of the squad were surprised as they said that it
    was a very innocuous collision. Anyway I phoned his mother and told her what
    had happened and apologised profusely, she seemed very ok with it and said she
    knew it was an accident. I informed all relevant members of staff immediately
    and thought that was that.

    However today the head of sixth form came to me and said he was
    going to have to read through the FA guide book to ensure that both the school
    and I are 'protected' in case the mother changes her tune. As you can imagine
    this didn’t feel like unwavering backing from the school hierarchy, when
    someone tells you the school has to be protected I immediately think that
    someone is going to get hung out to dry in some way.

    So first question - does anyone know of any official rules/laws
    which state that staff cannot be involved in training sessions?

    Second question - should I get on to my union ASAP?
  2. ictLad

    ictLad New commenter

    Sorry, should probably have mentioned that I'm not a PE teacher, but am posting here as thought it best place to get advice on something like this.
  3. gogojonny

    gogojonny New commenter

    Do you have a coaching badge, are you qualified to coach football?
    Why were you playing with them?
    Yes everyone does it, but you are the adult, they are the child, and you have injured the child under your supervision. Someone may come on here to quote the exact legislation, but I would think the parent has a case against you should they wish to pursue it. However it sounds like they won't, which is good for you.
    Take this as a lesson. Get first aid qualified (if you're not) and get a coaching badge (even if it's not football - something which shows you understand child protection etc).
  4. funkygirl

    funkygirl New commenter

    Hi ictLad,

    Please ask your Had of Department if they completed a risk assessment for all activities that your department run both in curriculum time and outside it. All schools have to ensure that risk assessments are completed for the areas that practical lessons such as Science, Technology and PE as part of H & S. Also as part of this, your Head of Dept should ensure that risk assessments are carried out for the pupils/staff and possible hazards for all activities linked to the areas.

    Secondly, the majority of schools refer to the Safe practice in PE guidelines which refer to real case studies in accidents such as yours and possible risks. They are guidelines only but I'm certain that in most cases when things like this have gone to court, 9/10 the case has been won by those who have sued the school.

    As a rule, I covered our dept back by ensuring that staff only took part if it was part of the lesson such as demonstrating etc or if it was part and parcel of the lesson. This is down to the professional judgement of staff but we did not have staff v students matches however.

    What ever happens, your school will have public liability insurance. Just ensure that you log what has happened for your reference and send a copy to your business manager so that this can also be kept should anything arise in future. By the sounds of it, it should be your line manager that is accountable for this.

    Hope this helps.
  5. ictLad

    ictLad New commenter

    To answer your questions

    No I do not have a coaching badge, have asked for official training before but it has never happened

    I was playing with them to make up numbers and because it's something which I enjoy,mi find it a good way to get to know and bond with the pupils. Did I think it was a problem, no because as I have said it was something I did at my last school, something which has taken place with the coaches before me and something which other staff do with the squads they coach with the full knowledge of the head of games. I'm an ict teacher who just helps out, i go by the rules and regulations passed/given to me by my line manager when it comes to games and never have I been told to not join in with the pupils.

  6. gogojonny

    gogojonny New commenter

    Ultimately the Head teacher is responsible, they must approve all activities and be satisifed you are competent to lead them. Coaching badge is good but if the Head says yes then normally you are OK.
    But I cannot stress enough do not join in with games. If you are playing you are not watching the session.
  7. stopwatch

    stopwatch Lead commenter

    When I first started teaching many many moons again I always used to join in with KS4 boys football and rugby. The only reason I didn't end up in a similer situation is mainly down to good luck. In hindsight it makes me cringe to think about it.
    Regards culpability, if the Head of PE has seen you playing football and said nothing he is partly to blame.
    As a non-PE teacher it is fair to assume you may not have understood the risks, however as a qualified teacher in todays world of Health and Safety and Risk Asssessments I think you should have seen the possibilities.
    Hopefully, the parent will continue to be understanding.
    The idea of teachers playing any kind of team game which involves contact or potential contact is not advisable.
    The idea of doing it to bond with the students is not a good reason to justify why you were doing it.
  8. bigfatgit

    bigfatgit Occasional commenter

    <u>If</u> the parent is reasonable, you shouldn't have any reason to wory
    However, due to the growing number of <strike></strike> no win no fee <strike>parasites</strike> lawyers out there this is not always the case. These <strike>scum</strike> professionals are going after teachers using every law going from HSE regulations to the Occupier's Acts 1957 & 84
    Staff participation is meant to be limited to a coaching role - actual playing in a contact sport has been "frowned upon" since the Affutu-Nartoy v Clarke case (1984)
    As an aside, if you do take part and you cause an injury (whether foul
    play or not) then not only you but also, through vicarious liability,
    your HoD, your headmaster, your head of the board of governors and your
    local education authority (and, in some cases, the governing body of the
    sport) can be found liable. Not a nice thought
    Being abroad now, we have several staff / student games a year - there
    is very little chance of litigation in Egypt (but more chance that one
    of the little darlings has got his hands on an AK47 since the Revolution)
  9. Hi ICT lad,
    Have just read your message and whilst I dont usually comment on this forum, I felt compelled to do so in this case. My thoughts:
    - You seem to be a highly conscientious teacher, giving freely of your time, outside your subject which is rare, noble and greatly appreciated by people like me.
    - Your actions at best are naive in my eyes. However in the legal eyes of other it could be deemed negligent. Due to your increased size, maturity, awareness of football - I struggle to
    - Which ever county council you work in there should be a county PE adviser or you should refer to the AfPE guidance. All of which will lead you to the conclusion that despite having always joined in, for whatever reason, you must not do it.
    - If coaching school children is a passion, then joining in will not allow you to observe to the degree required to coach effectively.
    - I dont agree entirely with the theme of the threads above in that, "its the headteachers responsibility" or the "head of PE's job to risk assess". If this were the case headteachers and heads of PE would be forever telling people what not to do. My opinion.
    - I hope nothing comes of this. I am sure it wont. But please learn the lesson.
    Good luck.

  10. wrldtrvlr123

    wrldtrvlr123 Occasional commenter

    I know this is (or should be) a black and white issue in the UK or even US for contact sports. I coach volleyball and gain much enjoyment from jumping in and playing from time to time. I also do think that in many instances, this helps me to demonstrate correct technique and strategy and offer timely advise and corrections without slowing the flow of the game or drill.
    Of course, I modify what I do to match the age and skills level of the students (I almost never spike on the -12 girls), but I also do accept that all of this comes with a risk and I accept that. I do teach in an international school in China, and so the legal ramifications and expectations are different, which makes me very happy.
    I have never hurt anyone, but I have had my foot broken before, and that hasn't stopped me. So I must really love what I do (or have taken one too many shots to the head).

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