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 Post subject: Overall Responsibility?
PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2011 8:08 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 16, 2010 8:12 pm
Posts: 800
Location: Kent
I am curious to what other parents think. At our local Grammar School a Teacher has resigned, and been named, over an unfortunate accident which left a boy impaled on a Javelin. The details can be found at Kent Online if anyone is interested.

Where common practice is in place for the use of a Javelin to mark the finish line of a race who is responsible for that decision, or more importantly lack of acting upon it before an accident happened? In your opinion - Is it the Teacher, the Head of PE or the Head of the School?

This was not a one off incident, according to students at the school it has been a regular use of the equipment for quite some time. (of course we all realise it's a wrong use!!!!)

Incidentally the boy in question will be scarred, of course, but other than that is very lucky to have escaped any serious long term injury. The argument of what could have been is obvious, but the facts of the case are that there was no death, or loss of sight or limbs etc. etc.

Opinions can only be made on information available and I am just interested in who you would believe is responsible for the safety of you DC while in school in a similar situation where regular practice might cause injury, and then it becomes obvious that the 'practice' was unsafe.

*I haven't included the option to vote for the DC who perhaps should have been looking where he was running. There were limited witnesses who have claimed this to be the case, but we all know that not everything we hear is 100% factual so I believe it would not be fair to suggest he should have avoided colliding with a spear!


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PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2011 8:34 am 
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What a horrible thing to have happened - and it could have been so much worse! I', afraid I think 'overall' responsibility must lie with the Head teacher since this was a regular practice.


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PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2011 8:55 am 
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Joined: Tue Sep 01, 2009 3:38 pm
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Location: Maidstone
Oh that was horrific, I just read the story online and it seems from comments they are holding the Head responsible.

Its like the baby P case when Sharon Shoesmith was sacked. Its because she has overall responsibility and the same could be said for this case that the Head is the the person will overall responsibilty. The teacher has resigned and I can only see pressure on the Head mountain.

Great the boy is recovering well.

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PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2011 9:03 am 
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Joined: Thu Dec 18, 2008 10:12 am
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Location: Berkshire
I also agree that the head is ultimately responsible for the incident. She has gone out of her way to say that javelins are not usually used in this way, but from the comments it seems that they were.
Health and safety at school is paramount, and responsibility for this is surely the head teacher's.


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PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2011 9:16 am 
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I would say all 3 have responsibility actually, everyone needs to be accountable for their own actions and I'm sure the teacher, head of department and Head all knew it was happening and that it wasn't the right thing to do.


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PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2011 9:24 am 
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I would say it depends on what has happened previously. To me it seems to be a freak accident. Yes with hindsight it's easy to say they should have known better, but in all honesty if nobody had foreseen this is it right that anyone should be blamed by losing their job? On the other hand if it had been pointed out that it was dangerous practice and yet nothing was done about it, then yes the person who was responsible for not correcting the situation should take responsibility.

We all like to complain about how silly health and safety and risk assessments have become, to the detriment of children not going on day trips or doing activities at school, and yet when an accident does happen we're also the first to look for someone to blame.


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PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2011 9:30 am 
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Location: Kent
scarlett wrote:
I would say all 3 have responsibility actually, everyone needs to be accountable for their own actions and I'm sure the teacher, head of department and Head all knew it was happening and that it wasn't the right thing to do.


Actually I think this hits the nail on the head, no pun intended..... Each individual has a responsibility and it isn't about passing the buck because someone more senior, or junior, or just the guy walking past at the time distracted you. I am amazed that not a single person could think that a piece of equipment has an intended purpose, and if you opt to use it in another way it just might not be suitable. :roll:

What has annoyed me is that the Head has come out with a statement that the individual Teacher has resigned and this was accepted, giving the impression the investigation will concur it was his individual fault. If she acknowledges there was blame then that needs to be followed through to the person who is 'responsible overall'.

Off Topic Warning.....

It is very sad that this school is seeing the vast majority of long serving Senior Teachers leave at the end of the Summer Term. Many things will change with a new HT coming in but the backbone of what the NKS had become renowned for is being stripped away. Lets hope in a few years time it was for the best, but today I am glad that I don't have a DS starting there in Y7 come September. (only because it's an unsettling time, not because I believe there is any danger or lack of potential learning.....)


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PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2011 9:33 am 
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Joined: Thu Dec 18, 2008 10:12 am
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Location: Berkshire
SSM wrote:
We all like to complain about how silly health and safety and risk assessments have become, to the detriment of children not going on day trips or doing activities at school, and yet when an accident does happen we're also the first to look for someone to blame.


I think when a child is injured in school, someone has to take responsibility. I don't think it is entirely right that the PE teacher was totally responsible if there's evidence that this practice was going on for some time, and other PE teachers were using javelins in this way too. If the child was seriously injured running down a flight of stairs, obviously there would be no apportionment of blame as it is normal practice to use stairs. It's not normal practice to denote the end of a race by using sharp pointy things that can cause injury.


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PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2011 9:34 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 16, 2010 8:12 pm
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Location: Kent
SSM wrote:
I would say it depends on what has happened previously. To me it seems to be a freak accident. Yes with hindsight it's easy to say they should have known better, but in all honesty if nobody had foreseen this is it right that anyone should be blamed by losing their job? On the other hand if it had been pointed out that it was dangerous practice and yet nothing was done about it, then yes the person who was responsible for not correcting the situation should take responsibility.

We all like to complain about how silly health and safety and risk assessments have become, to the detriment of children not going on day trips or doing activities at school, and yet when an accident does happen we're also the first to look for someone to blame.


I agree entirely. Why is there blame? But the HT has released a statement giving the impression the resignation was to do with the incident and was accepted. If there was no blame the resignation should not have been accepted. He was retiring in 6 weeks and could have been placed on compassionate, or even unpaid leave if really necessary. No blame, it was an accident and the whole incident would have been put down as a lesson learned.


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PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2011 9:38 am 
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Joined: Fri Jul 16, 2010 9:22 am
Posts: 3664
I'm having another secondary school flashback now............I'm pretty sure javelins were used to mark races and I seem to remember the pe teacher handing them to us to jab into the ground ourselves , just shouting to mind our feet as we did so ! :shock:


I'm sorry to hear of problems at the school though T ( Sorry can't see your name to type it properly with the 2 !)
Hope it all turns out ok. :)


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