The claimant was a special support assistant at a school for children with educational and behavioural difficulties. One of the pupils had a history of violence along with intimidating behaviour. He was supposed to be monitored at all times during school hours.

The claimant was involved in supervising another pupil in a locked classroom. She was sitting in her chair against the door at the request of the classroom teacher who had taken the rest of the class away because of that particular pupil’s disruptive behaviour. The pupil with a history of violence left his class and saw the claimant alone in the room with the other pupil and started banging on the door kicking shouting and swearing to be let in. He did not stop kicking the door. The other pupil unlocked it and the aggressive pupil barged the door open knocking the door into the claimant and injuring her.

The whole episode lasted between five and 10 minutes; at no time did anyone come to see what was happening.

The Judge decided that it was foreseeable that, if left alone for this period of time, the pupil would pose a risk to anyone he happened to come into contact with. The defendant’s argument was that it was this sort of school and the staff simply had to put up with it, but the Judge was having none of that. Judgement was given in favour of the claimant.

Montgomery -v- London Borough of Bromley. Bromley County Court, 19 April 2007

And another disruptive pupil case succeeds

The claimant worked for the defendants as an inclusion officer. The school catered for disruptive pupils. He had to intervene with a disruptive 13-year-old who was trying to break a window using a piece of wood. As the incident was escalating, he had gone to the head teacher to inform her of the situation. The teacher sent the claimant away in search of two other teachers who were trained in restraint techniques.

As the claimant went in search of one of the teachers, he came across the disruptive pupil who was now trying to break another window, so immediate intervention was required. The claimant grabbed hold of the pupil and managed to wrestle the wood from his hands. As he was trying to hold him, the pupil threw himself backwards causing the claimant’s back to hit the window ledge and he suffered an injury to his back.

While there were a number of issues about the case – that not all the staff were trained in restraint, that the claimant had previously noted the need for more trained staff – the Judge blamed the head teacher saying the claimant had gone to the head teacher to make her aware of the situation but she had referred him to other staff when the most suitable person to assist him was herself, as she was trained in restraint. This was a breach of duty.

Davie -v- Head Start Adolescent Educational Services. Winchester County Court, 19 April 2007