Teacher left with life-changing nerve injuries after pupil attack at UK school

A teacher from Caerphilly has been left with life-changing injuries after a pupil attacked him.

Craig Hearne, a 52 year old design and technology teacher from Hengoed, was assaulted by a student at Queenswood School in Ledbury, Herefordshire, in January 2020, resulting in permanent nerve damage to his face and ongoing psychological trauma.

The incident happened when a student swung a catering lid at Mr Hearne, causing severe injury to his neck. Thompsons Solicitors revealed that Mr Hearne was initially taken to a nearby A&E department but was later referred to the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff for specialist treatment, Wales Online reports.

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It was confirmed there that he had suffered a deep laceration to his neck, resulting in permanent nerve damage, and he was unable to work for a month afterwards.

Mr Hearne expressed his anger, saying: "I'm angry that my concerns about this pupil were not adequately addressed by the school. Behavioural policies that exist are not being consistently adhered to. The safety of staff members appears to be secondary to the money they can make from school fees. That can't be right. I hope by taking this action robust behavioural procedures will be implemented and strictly adhered to so that others won't have to endure the physical and psychological distress that I have had to experience."

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The incident left Mr Hearne suffering with sleepless nights and ongoing psychological trauma. It also resulted in a permanent loss of sensation on the right side of his face leaving him unable to ride a motorcycle as he struggles to put a helmet on.

A spokesman for Queenswood School said: "We support young people with a range of complex social, emotional, and mental health difficulties meaning that colleagues may experience challenging behaviour on occasion. We have robust procedures in place to minimise the risks this presents and encourage staff to follow them at all times."

"In this instance three witnesses said the incident was not foreseeable and there is no evidence to suggest there had been assaults earlier in the day. We elected to settle the staff member's injury claim out of court by offering a modest sum of compensation in recognition of the injury he suffered as in our view it was the fair thing to do."

Caragh Hogan, the lawyer at Thompsons Solicitors who supported him in his claim, said: "I cannot begin to imagine what our client has been through over the past four years. He's been left with life-changing physical injuries and is still dealing with the psychological trauma as a result of this attack. We hope this settlement can provide Mr Hearne with some closure so that he can begin to move on with his life."

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