A seven-year-old girl who broke her arm after falling from a climbing frame at school had to sit through three hours of lessons in agony – because teachers didn't think her injury was serious.
Sophie Raggatt, who attends Tewkesbury CofE School, was treated at lunchtime by two first-aiders. They applied ice to her arm but said there was no reason to suspect it was broken.
But when her mother Alison went to collect her daughter at 3.20pm her arm had swollen to twice its normal size.
'She was crying for me, but the school never telephoned me', she said.
'I was greeted by a pale, frightened child whose arm was twice its normal size. She must have been in terrible agony and she was clearly distressed.
'If they had the slightest reason or suspicion it was more than a sprain they should have got it checked out by a professional person, not by first-aiders. It's an appalling failure in their duty of care.'
Sophie was taken to Tewkesbury Hospital, where her injured elbow was X-rayed and the break discovered.
Alison said: 'The nurse said she didn't need a doctor to confirm the broken elbow - it was clearly cracked all the way through.'
An investigation has been launched at Tewkesbury CofE School following an official complaint by Alison and her husband Paul.
Headmaster Mr Holt said the first aiders 'had no reason to suspect the elbow was broken, but advised her to rest her arm in the afternoon.'
He wished Sophie a full and speedy recovery, adding: 'Her teacher tells me she was occasionally uncomfortable, but wasn't making a fuss. The teacher asked Sophie if she would like to stay in during afternoon playtime and she stayed in for a short time before deciding to go out and play with her friends. At the end of the school day the teacher walked out with Sophie to talk to her mum. Sophie had a note for her parents from the first-aider.
'I have already started conducting a thorough investigation.'
Medical practice dictates broken elbows are not plastered to reduce the risk of the joint seizing up. Sophie's arm is now in a sling and she is facing between four and six weeks off school.
Alison said: 'We can't send her back until she's recovered, in case she gets accidentally pushed or shoved at school.
When she sleeps she has to be propped up on a pillow, so it's a nightmare.'
Mark Rickard, schools programme manager at Gloucestershire County Council, said: 'There are dozens of minor bumps, cuts and bruises in schools every day. Any school that suspects a serious injury would be expected to call the child's parent or carer.'
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