THE Behaviour Question

5th April 2013 at 01:00

I have been bitten, headbutted, kicked, punched, slapped and spat at in the face by a Year 3 student. Are there any official rules that school leaders have to follow after incidents such as these? My colleagues are fantastic and do everything they can to support me. However, friends of mine who are teachers have told me that in their schools the student would have been excluded a long time ago. Is it each to their own or is there specific guidance anywhere? I should also point out that I have no one-to-ones, no teaching assistant and am on my own with him every day.

What you said:


The school has legal duties under employment legislation to ensure you are safe at work. It is clearly failing here - but will continue to ignore this problem until you make a fuss. Make one. Get your union involved. Make it quite clear that you will not allow the child in your class unless your employer takes steps to ensure your safety. If they talk about "supporting your behaviour management" and other ways to put the blame on you, tell them that you will talk to a solicitor about their failure.


Contact the police?

The expert view

The school has a contractual and statutory duty of care towards you and if this activity is repeated, it could easily end up with the school being shown to be negligent. Ultimately, this could become a union matter because there is the possibility of the school being sued. Of course, you don't want that to be the first resort for a number of reasons. The school doesn't seem to be "fantastic" if the student is still with you and hitting you. The student clearly needs a complex cocktail of sanctions, removals and one-to-ones and, if these things are not happening, you are being fobbed off.

Hitting a teacher should automatically provoke an exclusion, with a planned reintegration in steps only if the student has been assessed to be no longer a risk. If that hasn't happened, then it's just asking for the same thing to happen again and again.

I imagine most senior leadership team members would think twice about having this somewhat laissez-faire attitude if they were being hit, slapped and spat upon. Make a fuss; demand a removal. Demand meetings with parents. Use school sanctions to the hilt so that the child realises that there are consequences for being hideous. If that doesn't happen, we teach our children that nothing will happen if they misbehave, which is a dangerous lesson to impart.

Tom Bennett is author of The Behaviour Guru and Not Quite a Teacher. Read more from Tom on his TES blog, or follow him on Twitter at @tesBehaviour. His latest book, Teacher, is out now, published by Continuum

Post your questions at www.tesconnect.combehaviour.

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