Case Study

Careful Handling of
Disciplinary Matter Results in Uncontested Dismissal


The challenge

In this instance, our client school received a complaint that a Lunchtime Assistant had hit a child on the shoulder (for banging on a table). The pupil concerned made the complaint and, unfortunately, there weren’t any adult witnesses to the incident.

Obviously, the school investigated the matter thoroughly. As part of this they took witness statements from the other children who, at the time of the incident, were sat near to the pupil who made the complaint.

Unfortunately, the school were unable to ascertain whether the group of children had spoken to each other in advance of making their statements.

What we did

BIRCH-HR became involved and suggested that while the characters of the children involved should be taken into consideration, they could not be involved in the disciplinary process.

Photo of employee handbook
We suggested that the school should take into account what the children’s relationships were like.

However, ultimately the Deputy Head had to question the Lunchtime Assistant and make a decision.

The Lunchtime Assistant alleged that she had merely patted the pupil on the shoulder, but she also mentioned that all of the children were misbehaving that day and being particularly noisy.

Subsequently the Deputy Head asked the adults who were on duty that day whether they agreed with the Lunchtime Assistant’s version of events, and they said that they did not.

The Deputy Head came to the conclusion that the Lunchtime Assistant’s answers seemed to be fabricated.

The result

With our advice and guidance, the school dismissed the Lunchtime Assistant on the last day of term and she decided not to appeal.

The school were pleased that a possibly contentious disciplinary matter had been handled sensitively and successfully. They were particularly grateful that the dismissal was handled in such a way as to guarantee no further (potentially time-consuming and/or expensive) action by the other party.

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