A headteacher was left “nearly unconscious” after being punched and kicked in one of numerous attacks by a pupil, it has been claimed.
Mandy Copper was allegedly subjected to a catalogue of abuse from the student including being spat at and dragged by her hair.
The attacks went on over the course of two years between 2018 and 2020 despite repeat warnings being made over safety concerns, reports Essex Live.
The student at Wimbish Primary School in Saffron Walden, Essex, is said to have had special needs.
During one ordeal Ms Copper had a 6ft garden rake wielded at her and a scarf wrapped round her neck, it is alleged.
And in another sudden attack in January 2019, it was alleged that the 47-year-old was repeatedly punched and kicked to the point that she “almost passed out”.
Ms Copper’s husband of 25 years, Nick Copper, has spoken out about the horrific abuse he claims his wife has suffered, which he claims has “destroyed” her mental health and left her with anxiety, depression and suspected PTSD.
A spokesperson for Essex County Council confirmed that an Interim Executive Board has been set up at the school following “confidential concerns” and an investigation is currently ongoing.
Mr Copper, also 47, worked as a self-employed part-time tutor at the school and claimed to have witnessed two of the alleged attacks, which left his wife in tears and “frightened” to go back into school.
In one of the attacks, in September 2020, Mr Copper said he saw his wife, who has worked at the school for six years, being attacked by the pupil in the entrance lobby.
“I witnessed my wife being pulled by her hair, out in clumps, and being kicked and stamped, having her glasses pulled off her head and smashed,” he said.
“I couldn’t intervene as I was a self-employed tutor and not an employee of ECC. Permanent school staff are given specialised training to deal with violent situations.
“If I had intervened and attempted to man-handle the child, I would have been at very serious risk of being charged with assaulting a minor.”
Mr Copper stressed that neither he nor his wife blame the pupil but pointed the finger at Essex County Council for “failing” to address concerns.
“The pupil is as much a victim in this as anyone else,” he said. “It’s an impossible situation.”
Due to the physical and mental effects of the past two years, Mandy has been on long-term sick leave since mid-March this year, with the school currently run by an executive head.
And to make matters worse, the teacher says he had his own contract terminated in May after the school asked him to reapply for the role he has held for the past six years and he refused.
He believes the school avoided rehiring him because they knew he had questions to ask about the ordeal and didn’t want to go on the record answering them.
A spokesperson for Essex County Council, said: “Effective governance is integral in any education setting so that staff can best support and achieve positive outcomes for all pupils.
“Following confidential concerns raised about the previous governance arrangements in place at Wimbish Primary School, the Department for Education gave approval for Essex County Council (ECC), to establish an Interim Executive Board (IEB) at the school… We are in communication with the IEB and will support the return of the headteacher as appropriate.”
They added: “We believe that the articles which have been published are inaccurate and misleading.
“We cannot comment further because investigations are ongoing and it would be wrong to comment until investigations are complete.”
When the executive head was approached for comment, a spokesperson for Essex County Council said: “The correct procedure and processes have been followed at every stage and we do not recognise the version of events offered by Mr Copper.”
They added that the information provided is “misleading and contains inaccuracies.”
Essex County Council also responded on behalf of Wimbish Primary School when the school was approached for comment.