Teacher, 52, who suffered permanent nerve damage in his neck when he was attacked by a pupil, 13, with a catering lid at his £24,000-a-year school wins compensation

  • Craig Hearne was left unable to work for a month and suffers sleepless nights

A teacher has won a large compensation payout after he suffered life-changing neck injuries from an attack by a pupil at a £24,000-a-year school.

Craig Hearne, 52, suffered permanent nerve damage when he was attacked by a violent pupil.

His neck was severely injured after the 13-year-old student swung a catering lid at him after ‘assaulting’ two other staff members on the same day at the £8,000-a-term school.

The father-of-three was left with permanent nerve damage to his face as well as ongoing psychological injuries following the attack.

Mr Hearne, of Hengoed, near Caerphilly, South Wales, was working at the Queenswood School in Ledbury, Herefordshire.

Craig Hearne, 52, suffered permanent nerve damage after being attacked by a pupil with a catering lid

Craig Hearne, 52, suffered permanent nerve damage after being attacked by a pupil with a catering lid 

He said: said: ‘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.

‘On the day of my attack, the pupil had assaulted two other staff members, yet he was still able to go on to attack me.

‘He had a long history of violence towards staff and pupils, but there haven’t been appropriate measures implemented to address his behavioural needs.’

Mr Hearne was taken to Ledbury A&E before he was referred to the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff for specialist treatment.

Doctors found he suffered a deep laceration of his neck which led to permanent nerve damage, leaving him unable to work for a month.

His injuries included permanent loss of sensation on the right side of his face which meant he is unable to ride a motorcycle as he struggles to put a helmet on.

Mr Hearne, who also suffers sleepless nights, has now received compensation from the school for the injuries he suffered in January 2020.

He has now been awarded compensation from employers Aspris Children’s Services after instructing law firm Thompsons Solicitors.

Mr Hearne added: ‘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.’

Queenswood is an independent school for children and young people aged between 11 and 19 with social, emotional, and mental health difficulties.

Mr Hearne said the pupil, who has since been excluded, had previously been involved in 15 incidents, including ten instances of violence towards staff.

He said the pupil had come into school armed with a weapon made of a wooden pole and nails sticking out of it a year earlier.

The incident happened at Queenswood School in Ledbury, Herefordshire which charges £8,000 a term

The incident happened at Queenswood School in Ledbury, Herefordshire which charges £8,000 a term

Lawyer Caragh Hogan, of Thompsons Solicitors, 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. His employers failed to address staff concerns and implement behavioural procedures that dealt with the risk posed by the pupil.

‘We hope this settlement can provide Mr Hearne with some closure, so that he can begin to move on with his life.’

The exact figure awarded to Mr Hearne in compensation was not disclosed for confidentiality reasons. 

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