'Shocking levels of violence' at school in Braintree

21 March 2019, 08:38 | Updated: 21 March 2019, 08:41

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Teaching assistants at a special needs school in Braintree have told a union how they are being bitten, kicked and spat on - but managers are doing nothing about the violence.

UNISON says a survey of support staff at The Edith Borthwick School found that 82 per cent are worried about the levels of violence, but only 19 per cent of respondents thought bosses took the problem seriously.

Figures show workers there have been assaulted by pupils 107 times in the last 12 months.

That's 85 per cent of the total recorded in Essex's 19 special needs schools.

Half of Edith Borthwick staff said they had had at least one injury requiring medical assistance in the last year, while many said they had experienced too many minor injuries to count.

Some report being kicked in the face, concussions and dislocated joints at the hands of students.

One worker was bitten on the wrist so hard it broke the skin but was not told to log the incident. When they went to a routine doctor's appointment days later the nurse was "shocked and disgusted" that the bite went unreported and no hepatitis jab had been given. The wound became infected several times and has since left scars.

UNISON Eastern area organiser 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."

Heart approached The Edith Borthwick School, but they declined to comment.