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A teacher has been awarded ?280,000 in compensation after being attacked by a pupil.

Sharon Lewis, 31, was assaulted while working in a special school for children with learning difficulties and behavioural problems.

A 13-year-old jumped on her back - placing her in a headlock - as she fell to the floor, injuring her head and back.

Her attacker had a history of violent behaviour and already assaulted another teacher at the school in Nottingham.

The NASUWT union, which represented Miss Lewis, said she suffered post traumatic stress disorder and nerve damage - forcing her to quit the profession four years into her career.

It is believed to be the third highest pay-out for a teacher after a Staffordshire woman won ?402,000 in 2007. She suffered back injuries after a similar attack by a pupil in a secure unit. In the same year, a teacher won ?330,000 after being assaulted by an intruder at another school.

In all, teachers were awarded more than ?20m in compensation last year after lawyers sued over accidents, employment discrimination and attacks by violent pupils and parents.

Miss Lewis, who was just 26 when she was assaulted, told the Times Educational Supplement: "I'm not angry at the pupil who did it. I'm angry at a system where encountering violence is now an expectation of the job. That is very wrong and it frustrates me.

"There should be a zero tolerance approach. It's become the norm that violence against teachers is acceptable. If we don't instil the consequences of violent behaviour, we are not doing young people any favours."

She suffered nerve damage in her left shoulder during the attack in April 2004, causing numbness and tingling in her neck, arm and leg.

The teacher spent three days in hospital and almost five years on still suffers from physical pain and post-traumatic stress, leaving her prone to panic and anxiety attacks.

Chris Keates, NASUWT general secretary, said teachers were being attacked every day.

"I would like to think that lessons can be learned from Sharon's experience but unfortunately our casework shows they will not," she said. "Every day some teachers are at risk because pupils who have a history of violence and aggression are not properly risk assessed and preventative measures are not put in place. Regrettably, there is still a culture in some schools, particularly where pupils have serious behavioural problems, that being assaulted is all part of the job.

"No one should ever have to go to work with the expectation of being assaulted."


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