Teacher miscarried after 'pupil assault'

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The Independent Online

A teacher who suffered a miscarriage after being attacked by pupils said yesterday there was a culture of violence at one of the Islington schools rejected by Tony Blair for his own children.

Amy Blackburn, 32, said she felt in "physical danger on a daily basis" at Islington Green School in north London.

Mrs Blackburn, who earned £32,000 as head of geography at the comprehensive school, told Woburn Employment Tribunal that teachers were routinely attacked by pupils but little was done to protect staff or discipline students.

She told of a colleague who had to take five days off work after receiving "death threats" from pupils, a teaching assistant who was sexually assaulted, and a teacher who found human faeces in her coat pocket.

Mrs Blackburn is claiming that she was unfairly and wrongfully dismissed and the victim of indirect sexual discrimination after she resigned from her job because of the strain of the constant abuse.

She described how in March 2000 she was thrown against a door by pupils while she was pregnant. She later miscarried. Shortly before Christmas 2000 while she was pregnant with her daughter Isabelle, now eight months old, Mrs Blackburn said she was violently punched in the stomach while trying to break up a fight between two boys.

She said "a culture of violence had become endemic in the school such that I felt myself to be in physical danger on a daily basis".

Cambridge Education Associates, which runs Islington's schools, and Islington Green School deny that Mrs Blackburn was discriminated against or unfairly dismissed.

The hearing continues.