Special school trust urged to better support staff after spate of attacks

Concerns over the staff safety at Catch22 schools have been raised

Concerns over the staff safety at Catch22 schools have been raised - Credit: Google/Catch22

An education trust has been urged to better support its staff following a spate of attacks from children - including one that left a teacher with a broken arm.

Catch-22 is a national trust that runs a number of independent trusts that cater for youngsters with social, emotional and mental health difficulties which cause them to struggle to cope with mainstream education.

It has sites in Norwich, King's Lynn, Great Yarmouth and Carlton Colville, which are each run under its Include banner.

But the trust has come under fire from union bosses, after a spate of claims that staff members are not protected well enough from violent outbursts from the pupils in their care.

Concerns raised by National Education Union members include incidents where pupils have lashed out at staff where they have not felt sufficiently protected by the trust and claims that one of its schools, Everitt Academy in Carlton Colville, was operating with just one permanent member of staff.

An NEU representative said: "These are children who can not hack traditional education and need consistency and routine to strive, and I can't see how Catch-22 can provide this.

"We also do not want to see our members subjected to mental health strain because of how they are being treated and do not want to see them physically abused."

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But the trust has insisted the safety of its staff is "always" prioritised.

Stuart Rutter, executive principal of Catch22 in Norfolk

Stuart Rutter, executive principal of Catch22 in Norfolk - Credit: Catch22

Stuart Rutter, executive principal, said: "Staff are trained to ensure they are not putting themselves at risk if they must physically intervene. All staff are trained in 'Team Teach' which involves adapting the training and the individual risk assessments for each of the schools and sites.

"Each child has a behaviour support plan around their risk so that all staff best understand the child's needs. Debriefs take place at the end of each day, or sooner as required, which includes a welfare check on all staff if there has been an incident.

"All incidents of harm or near misses are reported to the Catch22 health and safety team for further review and support if required."

The NEU rep added: "Our message to Catch22 is simple: work with us."

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