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Injured in the classroom - what now?

Discussion in 'Health and wellbeing' started by somethingspecial76, Feb 26, 2012.

  1. Hi, hoping I can get some help here... I got injured by a pupil in my classroom in september and have been signed off work ever since. My consultant has told me that she does not consider that I will ever be physically well enough considering the nerve damage done to my back and neck to return to teaching. She told me I should ask them for a job sitting down. I explained that I was employed as a teacher and they would not give me a job sitting in an office instead.
    Does anyone have any experience of getting redeployed into a non teaching position ..or have any advice about the pay situation - can they sack me for not being well enough to return to my job after 6 months?
    I am a teacher with 18 years experience, but a young child and a mortgage so getting worried?
    Thanks
     
  2. Anonymous

    Anonymous New commenter

  3. fantastischfish

    fantastischfish Established commenter

    I'm afraid I cannot offer anything constructive, apart from to say that I'm really sorry for your injury, it sounds awful! And you said you were injured by a pupils...that's horrible.
    I have no suggestions; you've probably already done it, but contact your union for advice. xxx
     
  4. IndigoandViolet

    IndigoandViolet New commenter

    Hello,

    First of all - how terrible! I hope you are recovering well both mentally and physically. That is a truly awful thing to have happened.

    You don't make clear in your post whether a return to teaching is something you desire or something you understandably might want a break from. Also, you don't say whether you're primary/secondary or what subject. Regardless, could I recommend asking for a referral to occupational health to discuss your options?

    Part of schooling is to teach children how to be effective citizens. They are likely to encounter people with mobility problems in the wider world, so why not in school? You union might be able to put you in touch with teachers with similar problems (such as those who are wheelchair bound) to discuss how they have coped. I don't have this problem myself, but I imagine with reasonably small adjustments most of my A-level classes could easily be taught sat down, as could any others where a TA could circulate to keep children on task and they could come up to me to ask questions. Also, in my school, we are fortunate enough still to have funding for a specialist English and Maths teacher to work with small intervention groups. Since these sessions have a max of 5 students, the lessons are delivered almost entirely in a seated position.

    I've suffered nerve damage and it's terrible. It might be that there are issues related to pain or other things that rule out a return to teaching, but if you want to go back then please don't give up without a good hard look at all of the options, hopefully with a supportive union/OH/HR person (or people) by your side.

    I&V

    This might help or it might make your feel pressured into being superwoman! Remember, what's right for some isn't always right for others: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/education/schools/are-disabled-teachers-getting-a-raw-deal-1695931.html
     
  5. Thanks for the replies. I would be nervous about going back into the classroom, and I don't want to go back to that same school - they have made it clear they don't want a teacher that cannot walk around the building and have said I would be a health and safety risk. I can't imagine having to teach that young man again - although I think he's been moved into the pupil referral system now. I am disappointed by how unsupportive the school have been. They seem to think my injury is my own fault due to poor management of an ADHD pupil with a massive anger problem - a member of smt told me this in a text message and they were her words - cross with myself for deleting the message as my union said i should have kept this as evidence for them. I've had three phone calls from school since it happened, and one of those was from a member of admin staff. I had looked into the compensation thing but as the pupil has special needs (anger issues?!) been told by a) police and b) union solicitor i can't pursue a claim. I do get a benefit for my injury but its approx £30 a week so goes no where towards paying a mortgate and half pay is now looming.
    I can't stand any more for longer than about 2 mins, and the drugs I take make me so tired im back in bed at noon every day for 3 hours sleep. I'm trying to reduce the drugs in the hope I can be awake all day and have a hope of working. I can't believe how this has turned my life upside down and turned me from a fit and healthy person into a disabled one.
    I've been in regular contact with my union and they said they will support me with a return to work when I am ready and able. I've never come across a physically disabled teacher in any school I've worked in so thought that them telling me I would be a health and safety risk until I can walk around the building must mean that teachers have to be physically fit to meet the requirements of the job? I dont really know enough about this - must look into it further.
     
  6. Anonymous

    Anonymous New commenter

    I'll ask again...has this been reported under RIDDOR as all work related injuries leading to an absence of over 4 days should be.
     
  7. Yes I am told the school did do this.
     
  8. Lalad

    Lalad Lead commenter

    Don't take their word for it. Make an appointment to see a personal injury solicitor as soon as possible. Depending on the exact circumstances, you could have a claim either against the pupil (parents might have cover on their household insurance), or under the Criminal Injuries Compensation legislation, or against the school/LEA. You need independent specialist advice.
     
  9. Gardening Leaves

    Gardening Leaves New commenter

    I second the advice in the post above. Go to a specialist personal injury lawyer. You should have cover on your home insurance for this otherwise a Conditional Fee Agreement could fund it. On face value you could have a large claim here.

    You also need to make an application for Industrial Injury Disablement Benefit.

    The claim could be against the employer and the child in tort.
     
  10. IndigoandViolet

    IndigoandViolet New commenter

    Oh poor you! You really shouldn't have to be worried about trying to get back to work at the moment. I was only able to carry on with my (not teaching) job when dosed up to the eyeballs on codeine, occasional tramdol and a lot of gabapentin through the 'reasonable adjustment' of a quiet place I could go and sleep for a couple of hours at the middle of the day, and a very lovely boss who didn't mind me taking work home and effectively working 5 days spread over 7 whenever I felt up to it.

    Can you ask for any counselling to get you through this massive change in your life? Are you linked up to any support networks through pain/back pain charities or online communities? You have been incredibly unlucky but you are not alone and there are lots of people out there very willing to help.


    More possibly useful case studies: http://www.gtce.org.uk/publications/remove_barriers_2pt0511/

    Click to download the leaflet and read especially the third case study of a wonderfully supportive school happy to have someone with serious back problems working with them and managing pain meds.

    You might also want to have a read through 'Able to Teach' (aimed at ITT but provides lots of good examples of reasonable adjustments and 'I don't want to sue anyone, I just want to get a life: Inclusive Risk Assessment'.


    Keep your chin up!


    I&V
     
  11. Gardening Leaves

    Gardening Leaves New commenter

    I have been thinking about your unhappy situation over the weekend. The more I think, the more critical I believe it is that you consult a lawyer who specialises in personal injury cases for advice.
    You have been injured at work and have been advised that you can no longer work as a teacher because of the injury. You are concerned about the impact this will have on your financial commitments.
    You should have had another 50 years of your teaching career ahead of you. Let's be conservative and calculate on an average teachers' salary of, say, £35,000 pa you have lost an expected gross income of £1.75 million. That's not taking into account inflationary increases or promotion. On top of that, you would have been making contributions into a public sector pension that remains one of the more generous. You can no longer do that so stand to lose the post rerirement benefits you should have enjoyed.
    Ideally, you will be able to make a successful application to retire from teaching on ill-health grounds, if you are judged permamently unable to return to teaching and will have that income to offset your liabilities. However, it has become increasingly difficult to get ill-health retirement and there is no guarantee that you will do so, even though your injuries are severe.
    Really, go and take specialist legal advice. Then download the application for IIDB here http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/MoneyTaxAndBenefits/BenefitsTaxCreditsAndOtherSupport/Disabledpeople/DG_10018839 and make an application.
    I wish you well. What an awful thing to have happened to you.
     
  12. Gardening Leaves

    Gardening Leaves New commenter

    [​IMG] Doh! Maths hoplessly awry! But you get the idea...
     
  13. Thank you
    I have thought hard about this, and contacted my union again who have organised a specialsist lawyer to talk to, and I have set up an initial meeting.
    I'm very worried about taking any legal action though, as I have been told the incident was all my own fault for poor management of the student. My union have warned me it is extremely difficult to pursue any claim against a student, the successful claims are apparently normally ones against the school or LEA.
    Also, if I take any legal action, what is this going to do any career prospects - should I have a career left?
    Thank you for the info about the disabled teachers on the GTC website - really interesting reading for me. I've never met a physically disabled teacher before - but this showed me that there are some out there!
    Really appreciate the support I'm getting on here. Thanks all!!
     
  14. Gardening Leaves

    Gardening Leaves New commenter

    Any personal injury claim is made against whichever parties had a 'duty of care' towards you. The student had a 'duty of care' but there would be little point in sueing him unless he had money. Your employer. the school, also had a 'duty of care' for you. If the pupil was known to have behavioural issues/had threatened you or other staff before, or similar and the school leadership knew, they could be in breach of their duty of care.
    If a student has injured you and you successfully claim, it should have no impact on any other work you wish to do. The fault lies with the specific school / student and does not affect any other school.
    IIDB is a 'no fault' benefit. It is awarded on the demonstration that an injury occurred during the course of your work. You do not have to prove whose fault it was.
     
  15. Lalad

    Lalad Lead commenter

    It depends on the circumstances, which is why I am glad you are taking specialist advice - my son had a successful claim against a fellow student settled by his parents' house insurers, who admitted liability straight away, but our solicitors were confident of claiming against the school had he not been insured. You are in a stronger position as an employee of the school than he was as a student. Feel free to PM me for more information.
     
  16. Thanks to the people who advised me to see a solicitor.
    Personal Injury claim has now been submitted to the LEA. I've been advised that it is going to be a very difficult case to persue due to various reasons I can't really go into.
    I'm very worried about how my school is going to react when they get back from the Easter break to find out that I have submitted a PI claim. Has anyone else got experience of this? I was advised by my solicitor that I must not contact anyone from school about the claim, and if anyone asks me about it I must not discuss it. Rather worried I will have the HT on the phone on Monday asking me questions.
    I'm still no where near well enough to return to work, in fact I don't think I can see any improvement at all in the last six monthst which is a real worry for myself and my family as we are now starting to get in a financial mess through this.
     
  17. I expect that the HT will also take advice and will know not to contact you but if they do just tell them politely but firmly that you have been advised not to discuss it with anyone form the school, say goodbye and hang up.
    Hope you get something sorted out.
     
  18. fantastischfish

    fantastischfish Established commenter

    I would hope that the head would know better than to take things personally; you have a right to protect your financial interests.
    If they do call you, try not to be overly apologetic etc. Just wish them well, say tha you hope everyone is doing well and ask for your best wishes to be pass on to the staf, but politely say that you cannot discuss the legal situation.
     
  19. Sorry to hear of your case and dreadful the school has blamed you, you're a human being not a robot. I think an important point you have made is this student is no longer at the school and is at PRU...was this due to the incident with you? Surely by being moved to a PRU this suggests the schools considered the pupil as high risk to others if not himself too. This might help you build a case. If the school knew the risks was there adequate support in place? For example, a teaching assistant 1:1 trained in restraint? I can see it would be hard to claim against the pupil due to a diagnoses of ADHD but then again depends where on the spectrum he lies. If extreme and the label disolves his responsibility for his actions then it would be a difficult but again comes back to the school ensuring a proper risk assessment was in place and that provision for all known risks was in place to minimise any potential dangers.
    I hope you're managing to enjoy Easter with your little one.
     
  20. So so fed up right now. I have instigated a personal injury claim but keep questionning if it was the right move. It just seems like one big mess now. Everyone I know from school seems to have turned their back on me like I have done something wrong. My teacher friends who were friends with me on facebook have deleted themselves as my friend?! I text one teacher colleague who had been in regular contact with me - no response. I emailed school about my sick pay - no response. I rang and asked someone to ring me back about my sick pay - no response.
    There is no way I am fit enough to go back to work, but to get another job doing something outside of teaching (thinking some sort of office type job) I need a reference - and there is no chance of getting a decent reference (or any reference) now I'm taking legal action. I had worked there for quite some time and my referees from my previous school are no longer there.
    If I could turn back the clock I don't think I would have instructed a solicitor got so much stress all ready & this is just adding more, and I now have no chance of anyone employing me. Now on half pay too and with a large mortgage to pay I just feel so frightened about making ends meet, and I dread the letters arriving in the morning in case there is another bill.
    What a mess.
     

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