LANCASHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL ASSAULTS ON TEACHING STAFF : PRINCIPLES, ADVICE AND ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEDURES

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1 LANCASHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL ASSAULTS ON TEACHING STAFF : PRINCIPLES, ADVICE AND ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEDURES 1. INTRODUCTION 1.1. By the nature of their work, teachers may be placed in situations with potential for conflict with pupils and others. No one should have to work in fear of assault or harassment and individuals should be clear as to their rights and responsibilities when an incident or an alleged incident occurs. The Education and Cultural Services Committee has resolved to make it clear that the County Council will give all necessary support and advice to teachers assaulted in the course of their employment. The fact that an incident of assault may appear to reflect adversely upon the school is not grounds for failing to deal effectively with the situation Assault can take many forms, including: - physical force; -verbal abuse and threats (with or without a weapon); -rude gestures or innuendoes; -sexual or racial harassment. * Although the Authority would consider giving assistance in cases of assault without the application of force this procedure is intended to apply principally to cases in which force is applied (assault and battery). Verbal assault is no less serious than physical assault and consideration should be given in appropriate cases to the use either of internal disciplinary measures in the case of staff or pupils or to the use of the powers contained in Section 547 of The Education Act 1996 which creates a criminal offence where any person is present unlawfully on school premises and causes a nuisance or disturbance. (See paragraph 3.4.). * This document should be read in conjunction with the model procedure for dealing with complaints of workplace harassment and bullying. 2. Principles 2.1. As part of the process and in order to promote a constructive dialogue with representatives of the teaching staff the incidence of assaults on teaching staff will be reported annually to the Teachers' Consultative Forum This document relates to all teachers employed in schools maintained by the CSA and services provided by the CSA Any assault on teachers during the course of their employment must be reported to the police by either the teacher or the Headteacher. 2.4 The Executive Director of Children s Services and the Chairman of Governors must be informed in writing by the Headteacher of any assault on a teacher and the circumstances thereof.

2 3 Procedure 3.1 Physical Assault See flow chart at Annex A When a member of staff has been physically assaulted the matter should be reported to the Headteacher immediately and the following action taken: (iii) The teacher should be relieved of any duties for a length of time appropriate to the nature and severity of the effects of the assault. Where a teacher suffers shock or injury, first aid should be administered and, if necessary, professional medical treatment. In any case of serious physical assault, the teacher must consult a doctor as soon as practicable and obtain a written medical statement concerning the injuries. The Authority will accept responsibility for payment of any charge for such a written medical statement whether or not a prosecution is pursued. If physical assault occurs the Police must be informed. This may be done by either the teacher or the Headteacher. If the Police take action the Authority will not normally become further involved in the proceedings. However, as soon as is practicable, a brief report of the incident should be sent by the Headteacher to the Human Resource and Payroll Service for onward transmission to the Executive Director for Children and Young People. The teacher should be advised by the Headteacher to contact his or her professional association prior to making a written statement. The Headteacher may expedite this by offering to contact the relevant professional association. Factual written statements should be obtained by the Headteacher as soon as possible. Details of the names and addresses and ages of the witnesses should also be obtained. Where the Police are involved they would assume this responsibility. Where possible all written statements describing the event should be prepared on the day of the alleged assault. (v) (vi) The teacher who has been assaulted should provide details of the damage suffered including if appropriate a Doctor's statement of injuries, and where possible the cost of repair to personal effects. If any implement or weapon has been used in an attack this should be retained by the Headteacher provided that this can be done without difficulty or risk and provided that the Police do not require the implement or weapon. (vii) In the event of an assault on a teacher by a pupil the Headteacher should immediately consider the exclusion of the pupil concerned using, in the first instance, powers of temporary exclusion for up to 5 days. Powers of indefinite or permanent exclusion may then be considered subject to the procedure laid down. Consideration by the Headteacher regarding the return to school of a pupil should take account of any investigation pending. (viii) Headteachers should bear in mind their obligation to ensure the safety of the pupils. In cases where it is necessary but impracticable to remove the pupil from the premises (where for example it proves impossible to contact a parent) the pupil should be removed from contact with other pupils, and any exclusion should take place from the start of the next session or day.

3 (ix) (x) In any discussions or as part of any investigation about an attack on a teacher, the teacher may be accompanied by a representative of a professional association. If the Crown Prosecution Service or the teacher assaulted decides to prosecute the assailant, the teacher and witnesses may be required to appear in Court. Leave of absence with pay will be granted for this purpose and will be regarded as Public Service and the cost of supply cover will be met from centrally retained funds. (xi) Where an assault is made by persons other than pupils, the Authority will use its best endeavours to ensure that such persons are barred from the premises pending the outcome of investigations and thereafter, as appropriate. See Section 3.4 below. (xii) The Authority will keep a record of all assaults on teaching staff Legal proceedings - private prosecution (iii) (v) (vi) In some cases in which physical assault has occurred, the Police may decline to take action and may indicate that they consider it is a matter for private prosecution. It will be for the teacher concerned to decide whether he/she wishes to institute a private prosecution. It is not possible in law for the Authority to prosecute an individual for assault on behalf of a teacher. In taking such a decision the teacher will be given an opportunity of discussing the case with a solicitor employed by the Authority and may be accompanied by a friend/representative of their professional association. If it is agreed that the Authority will support a private prosecution then the teacher will appoint his/her own solicitor. It is Education and Cultural Services Committee policy that the Authority will pay the reasonable private legal expenses associated with the prosecution, but will not reimburse the costs incurred by a professional association. Any legal proceedings will be in the name of the individual teacher. The final decision on whether or not a case should be taken to Court supported by the Authority will rest with the Head of Legal Services. Special consideration would have to be given to whether a prosecution through the Courts would be the most appropriate method of dealing with the case where the person who caused the alleged assault was a registered pupil or a teacher/employee of the Authority. Should the Authority not agree to support a private prosecution a teacher would still have the right to proceed on their own account with independent legal advice or with the support of a Professional Association, but in such cases, the Authority would not reimburse the legal costs incurred. It is the policy of the Education and Cultural Services Committee that paid leave of absence will be granted to the teacher concerned and to any other staff who appear as witnesses on attending court. This will be regarded as Public Service and the cost of supply cover will be met from centrally retained funds.

4 3.3. Verbal abuse/threats See flow chart at Annex A Where a teacher is subject to verbal abuse or threats in the course of his/her employment the Headteacher may write a formal letter to the individual concerned pointing out that legal action may be taken if further misconduct occurs. Where the teacher or the headteacher requests such action the Head of Legal Services will write a letter as in 3 above Persons causing a nuisance or disturbance See flow chart at Annex B Section 547 of The Education Act 1996 contains provisions for dealing with nuisance and disturbance on educational premises. The Section, which applies to maintained schools, makes it an offence for a person who is present without lawful authority on such premises to cause or permit nuisance or disturbance to the annoyance of persons lawfully using the premises. Such an offence is punishable on summary conviction by a fine. The offence relates to those causing nuisance who are present "without lawful authority" and it would not therefore cover registered pupils during school hours or others engaged in authorised activities on school premises. Where a person is present with lawful authority, the permission to remain may subsequently be withdrawn. Proceedings may be brought by the Police, the Authority or, in respect of aided or special agreement schools, by a person authorised by the school governors. Section 547 also provides for the Police or persons authorised by the Authority to remove a person suspected of having committed an offence under the Section. Headteachers and Deputy Headteachers of Community and Controlled Schools have been authorised for this purpose by the Executive Director for Children and Young People. In respect of aided and foundation schools the authorisation is by ther Governing Body. (iii) When an incident occurs within the scope of Section 547 which is of a minor nature, consideration should be given by the person authorised by the LEA/aided school Governing Body to the use of the powers to remove suspected offenders from the premises. The authorised person should:- (a) make clear to the suspected offender his/her view that a nuisance or disturbance has been caused; (b) point out that the person is present without lawful authority. If the person has entered the premises with either express or implied authority, his/her permission to remain should be withdrawn; (c) refer to his/her authority to remove suspected offenders and request the person to leave the premises.

5 (v) (vi) If the person fails to leave, FORCE SHOULD NOT BE USED but the person should be informed that the Police will be called. The police should then be requested to come to the scene and will take over as in paragraph (vii) below. For minor situations, employees other than those authorised may, as previously, request suspected offenders to leave the premises and where they refuse, the Police should be called. (vii) Where an incident occurs which is of a serious nature, for example where violence has occurred or is considered likely, THE POLICE SHOULD BE CALLED IMMEDIATELY. The Police are authorised under Section 547 to remove suspected offenders and they would normally expect to be called where there is a serious outbreak of trouble. In these circumstances the Police should be informed of the nature of the nuisance. They will also need to be satisfied that the suspected offender is not present with lawful authority. (viii) Subject to his being satisfied that there is a reasonable chance of success, the Head of Legal Services will institute private proceedings on behalf of the Authority against any person present on Authority premises without lawful authority who causes or permits nuisance or disturbance to the annoyance of those using the premises lawfully. (ix) In cases where it is decided that no legal proceedings will be commenced, the Head of Legal Services will, where appropriate, write a suitable caution to the individual concerned and in particular draw attention to the consequences if there is any repetition of his/her conduct. Such a caution may also be written by the Headteacher or other person authorised by the Governors. See model letter at Annex C. 4. Supplementary Guidance Notes 4.1. Entitlement to Sick Pay Assault/serious injury suffered by a teacher during the course of his/her duty will be regarded as an industrial injury, giving the teacher an automatic entitlement to full pay for a maximum period of six months followed by the teachers entitlement to normal sick pay Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme If the teacher has been assaulted:- Advice on how to submit a claim to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board (issue leaflet "Victims of Crimes of Violence") is available from the Citizens' Advice Bureau. The processing of a claim to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board may take months. (iii) The Criminal Injuries Compensation Board may withhold or reduce compensation if they consider that the applicant has not taken, without delay, all reasonable steps to inform the Police. Applicants for compensation will only be considered if made within three years of the incident giving rise to the injury. (In exceptional cases this requirement may be waived).

6 4.3. Personal Accident Insurance Scheme - Assault For further detail see Insurance document. If any teacher has suffered permanent total or partial disablement as a result of injury arising from an assault during the course of his/her employment: (iii) (v) The County Treasurer (Insurance Section) must be advised immediately by the Headteacher of any incidents of assault on teachers so that the County Council's Personal Accident Insurers can be notified. Failure to notify the insurers at the outset could present difficulties with any subsequent claim made by the teacher. As an initial notification a copy of form HSI Accident/Incident Record must be sent direct to the County Treasurer with the original form being sent to the Health and Safety Team in the usual way. Where it is considered that the injuries suffered may result in a valid claim under the scheme, a claim form should be obtained by the Headteacher or the teacher from the County Treasurer (Insurance Section), County Hall, Preston, PR1 8RJ, tel: The completed claim form should be returned by the teacher to the County Treasurer (Insurance Section). It is necessary for the teacher to obtain a doctor's statement verifying the nature and extent of the disability (see Section 4 of the claim form) and it may be necessary to undergo independent medical examination. A table of benefits payable under the Scheme is available from the County Treasurer and the lump sum due in qualifying cases can be obtained by applying the appropriate percentage award as detailed in the Public Liability and Insurance arrangements document to the greater of 50,000 or five times gross annual remuneration. The insurance scheme does not cover temporary disablement Damage/loss of clothing/personal effects Under the Scheme of Delegation to Chief Officers (Clause 8.3) the Director of Resources and his/her deputy have authority to approve ex-gratia payments to a maximum of 1,000 in the case of loss or damage to employee's clothing and equipment arising from assault/serious injury to employees at work. Claims involving expenditure above the upper limit would be subject to Cabinet Member approval. It should be noted that the scheme is not intended to cover areas such as pain and suffering and loss of emoluments. Payments under the Scheme would be made on an ex-gratia basis, the final decision on which would rest with the Director of Resources. BS/SP/SMS/WR 14 April 2005

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