Teacher wins £100k compensation battle

Jaqueline Cuthbertson received the payout after a pupil damaged her wrists

A TEACHER who was attacked by a primary school pupil with Down’s Syndrome has won her £100,000 court battle against a Scots council.

Jaqueline Cuthbertson, 49,  was working as a teacher in Edinburgh when she was attacked in the middle of the classroom by a girl who had only recently started primary.

She was left with injuries to her wrist which meant she was unable to brush her own teeth  after she tried to stop the pupil grabbing a tub containing scissors.

The girl bent Mrs Cuthberton’s arm back until her right wrist cracked.

She said the girl was so ‘violent and unpredictable’ a teaching assistant had been assigned to ensure at least two adults were in the classroom with her constantly.

Mrs Cuthberton had taught at the school since 1995, and launched the legal action against Edinburgh City Council after she needed an operation to repair the damage.

She was unable to work needed ongoing physiotherapy after the attack on 19 December 2008.

The incident began when the child refused to take her jacket off after break time.

She then threw her jacket behind a cupboard before emptying the assistant’s handbag.

Mrs Cuthbertson tried to reason with the girl, but after initially appearing calm she soon became violent again.

She tried to grab for a tub containing scissors, prompting the teacher to try and intervene for other pupils’ safety.

The girl then grabbed the teacher’s hands, bending them back and causing the injury.

She started teaching the girl in August that year, and her lawyers said the pupil would ‘regularly spit, kick out, throw objects and hit people.’

The learning assistant employed to work with the child in class was not present at the time.

Council lawyers claimed the child did not have a history of violence at the school.

They argued Mrs Cuthbertson’s other health problems, including arthritis, were also a factor in her being unable to work.

But council chiefs said today a settlement had been reached with Mrs Cuthbertson for an undisclosed amount.

Speaking after the case was settled, Mrs Cuthebrtson said she was ‘satisfied’ the ‘difficult matter’ had been dealt with.

Edinburghcity council declined to comment.