London: Teacher left punched in face by pupil awarded £850,000

The teacher who described the assault as a ‘blur’ suffered physical and psychological injuries (Picture: Getty Images)

A teacher was awarded nearly £1 million in compensation after he was punched in the face by a pupil.

The teacher was assaulted by the pupil during a science lesson at his London school in January 2017.

At the time of the incident, the pupil was not supposed to be in the teacher’s lesson due to being suspended as a result of a previous incident.

The teacher reportedly asked the student to leave the classroom before turning his back to them, not realising the pupil had come back into the room.

The teacher who described the assault as a ‘blur’ suffered physical and psychological injuries in the attack.

They suffered a head injury, tinnitus, hearing loss, bruising, back and ankle injuries, PTSD and severe depression.

Since the attack, the teacher has been sectioned under the Mental Health Act for his own safety twice, and has been unable to return to work.

Medical experts have also reportedly said he is unlikely to ever be able to return to teaching as a result of the physical and psychological trauma he experienced.

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A science teacher who is unlikely ever to be able to return to teaching after a serious assault was awarded £850,000 through the Nasuwt (Picture: Shutterstock / Africa Studio)

The teacher was helped to secure £850,000 in compensation by his union the Nasuwt.

The payout was just one of the claims the teaching union helped its members with in 2021.

The Nasuwt also secured nearly £80,000 for a drama teacher from Wales who was dismissed from her role after she developed life-threatening asthma.

After her classroom was refurbished there were a number of problems with the room, including mould growing on the walls and a crack in the floor.

As term went on, she started suffering from headaches, coughing, wheezing and a runny nose while teaching.

Large group of students sitting in the lecture hall at university and listening to their teacher. Focus on teacher's hand. Unrecognizable people.

The Nasuwt said it has secured nearly £15m in compensation for members last year (Picture Getty Images/iStockphoto)

The symptoms got worse and she eventually suffered an asthma attack and had to be taken to hospital by ambulance.

She was diagnosed with late onset asthma and a consultant believed this was caused by the working conditions at her school.

The teacher suffered from repeated asthma attacks and paramedics were called to the school on several occasions or she was admitted to hospital.

The asthma and an unrelated operation in late 2018 led to the teacher having unavoidable absences from work.

In 2019, she was dismissed despite her asthma having been brought under control through adjustments to her working conditions secured by the Nasuwt.

Undated handout photo issued by NASUWT of their new general secretary Patrick Roach. Government advice suggesting that teachers do not need personal protective equipment (PPE) when working in schools during the Covid-19 outbreak is ?dodgy? and ?unhelpful?, the union leader has warned. PA Photo. Issue date: Sunday April 12, 2020. School staff looking after the children of critical workers and vulnerable pupils say they do not have enough soap and hot water to wash their hands, according to teachers? union the NASUWT. Mr Roach, said a number of teachers on the front line are calling for access to PPE and Covid-19 testing as they are concerned about the health of their families. See PA story HEALTH Coronavirus. Photo credit should read: Simon Boothe/NASUWT/PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.

Dr Patrick Roach said compensation could never make up for the impact which unfair treatment has on teachers (Picture: PA)

The union succeeded in bringing claims for unfair dismissal and disability discrimination.

The claims were among the £14,815,251 worth of compensation Nasuwt members received in 2021. 

Other successful actions related to issues such as performance management, trade union-related detriment, contractual disputes, health and safety, and unlawful deductions from wages.

Dr Patrick Roach, Nasuwt general secretary, said: ‘While compensation is recognition of the personal, and in some cases, financial loss that members have suffered, it can never make up for the impact which unfair treatment, discrimination and physical injuries have on individuals.

‘The money awarded cannot compensate for the emotional, physical and mental distress members have experienced and the fact that for some, their experiences have left them unable to continue working in teaching.

‘Furthermore, these cases are only likely to represent the tip of the iceberg.

‘There is no doubt that many other teachers will have been driven out of the profession without proper redress for poor, discriminatory or unfair treatment because they were too fearful to come forward or believed nothing could be done.

‘Too many employers believe they can act with impunity as the government fails to take any action to secure compliance with employment law or health and safety legislation, allowing poor employment practices to flourish.’

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