A teaching assistant who was ‘punched, pinched and kicked’ by a five-year-old boy in her reception class has been awarded £140,000 in compensation.
Aleksandra Aukett, 44, claims she suffered “life-changing” chronic pain following the scary attack of the youth, who was identified only as X and was described as “tall for his age”.
The assistant has not returned to the classroom at the west London school since the incident in March 2017 and says she still suffers from PTSD and depression and uses crutches to support herself.
In a lawsuit against the London Borough of Hillingdon, the authority responsible for overseeing the school, Ms Aukett argued that more should be done to protect her in the workplace.
“I’m still restricted,” she told Central London County Court. “I’m nowhere near as mobile, fit and healthy as I was before the accident.”
Her attorney, Gemma Witherington, told Judge Richard Roberts that Child X first attacked another student.
The court heard Ms Aukett was carrying the rest of the students to safety when he lunged at her in the corridor, punching her in the chest and pinching her.
“Then he kicked her in the hip, groin and legs,” Ms Witherington added.
The slow-learning boy caused soft tissue injuries to the assistant’s lower back, chest, and left buttock, as well as long-lasting inflammation.
Ms Witherington said her client accepts his “vulnerable background” but pointed out that this was a “very nasty attack which is having physical and mental repercussions on her”.
The unruly youth had a criminal record for “physically assaulting other students and staff,” the attorney said, adding, “It was reasonably foreseeable that this child would seriously harm either another student or one of the teachers.”
“Had Ms. Aukett been aware of X’s condition/behaviour and/or had been trained, she most likely could have taken steps to avoid the attack.”
However, lawyers for the London Borough of Hillingdon claimed Ms Aukett had been trained to restrain pupils and de-escalate such incidents.
Attorney Roderick Abbott said the school did everything in its power to protect staff and students from any risk.
He highlighted a student risk assessment carried out on Child X that detailed the potential risks of “throwing objects and causing injury to staff or other students”.
Mr Abbott told the court that given the school’s general awareness of the boy’s story, “it would have been impossible for Ms Aukett not to have been aware of X’s conduct”.
He accepted that she “was the victim of a violent attack while doing difficult work” but denied that the school had failed in its duty to protect her.
However, the court has now sided with Ms Aukett – ordering the council to pay her over £140,000 in compensation, as well as her lawyers’ bills.
Judge Roberts commented: “The parties are to be commended. Well, Ms. Aukett, it is very difficult to make a legal claim and it is very difficult to prove cases, but you did it, you did it very well.’
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https://metro.co.uk/2022/03/22/london-teaching-assistant-beaten-up-by-student-wins-140000-payout-16322299/ London: Teaching assistant beaten up by student wins £140,000 payout