• Report says 'more than 100 attacks in a year' at Edith Borthwick School
  • Union claims 'only a matter of time until someone suffers life-changing injuries'
  • Education bosses refute report and say claims are 'misleading and disappointing'

TEACHING assistants are being "kicked in the face and left with concussions and dislocated joints" by students at a special needs school, a new study has claimed.

The shocking revelations have been made following a survey of 22 support staff at the Edith Borthwick School, in Braintree, by UNISON, which found that 18 are worried about the amount of violence at the school.

Of the 22 surveyed, 11 said they had sustained at least one injury which needed medical assistance in the past year, while 'many' said they had experienced too many minor injuries to count.

Just four said they believe bosses are taking the problem seriously.

Meanwhile, Freedom of Information requests have shown that in Essex’s 19 special needs schools, staff were assaulted by pupils 126 times in the past 12 months.

Of those incidents, 107 took place at Edith Borthwick.

UNISON Eastern's Abby Kimantas said: "There are truly shocking levels of violence at Edith Borthwick but managers seem content to shrug their shoulders.

"It’s only a matter of time until someone suffers life-changing injuries at the school.

"Special needs support staff come to work to make a difference to children’s lives, instead they face daily abuse and injury because they don’t have the resources to cope with the complex needs of those they’re there to help.

"And managers are rubbing salt in their wounds by failing to respond to the barrage of serious incidents at the school.

"Edith Borthwick must address why it leads the county in assaults against its workers and make the school a safer place for staff and students alike."

The survey also revealed that staff are discouraged from seeking first aid after an incident as it would put pressure on other workers.

It's claimed that in one incident, someone was bitten on the wrist so hard it broke the skin but they were told not to log the incident.

At a routine appointment days later, a nurse said a hepatitis jab should have been given for the wound which became infected several times and has since left scars.

Maldon and Burnham Standard: Opposed - Ray Gooding, county councillor for education and lifelong learning, says the authority is against plans to force schools to convert to academy status.

  • Refutes claims: Ray Gooding

But County Hall education bosses have hit back against the claims. 

Councillor Ray Gooding said: “Essex County Council does not recognise the description of Edith Borthwick School made in this release from Unison and we suspect neither would the children or their parents.

“The press release is misleading and selective in its use of evidence.

“The school has sought to engage Unison about the concerns which Unison say they have but this has not been taken up. 

"This is very disappointing for all concerned.

“The head, the governing body and Essex County Council are committed to ensuring the safety and well-being of all staff and take very seriously any incidents.

“Edith Borthwick School is a special educational needs and disabilities school. It does take children and young people with severe and complex needs.

“In interviews any new staff are made aware of pupils’ special educational needs and the potential for challenging behaviours prior to accepting roles and the school does not place support staff with pupils until trained.

“We would welcome clarification from Unison about how they have engaged constructively with the school or Essex County Council on this matter.”

The school declined to add to the county council's comments.