A SENIOR teacher sacked after being attacked by a pupil at a Bolton academy will have to fight for a pay-out for a second time.

Georgina O'Brien was director of learning (ICT) at Bolton St Catherine's Academy at the time a student inflicted hand and stomach injuries on her in March 2011.

The child — who had attacked another member of staff before — was not permanently excluded as Ms O'Brien wished because the school had adopted a new ethos of working with troubled pupils. She eventually went on sick leave due to stress and never returned to work.

Fourteen months later she was let go by a panel of governors following a hearing in January 2013.

Ms O'Brien took the matter to an employment tribunal where her claim of unfair dismissal and disability discrimination was upheld in November last year, paving the way for an award of damages.

But Bolton St Catherine's Academy, in Stitch-Mi-Lane, Harwood, appealed the outcome to an appeal tribunal in London — and the judge decided in its favour in a judgment delivered last week.

It means the case will be referred back to another employment tribunal for reconsideration.

Judge Daniel Serota said in his written judgment: "The Employment Tribunal should have taken into account the claimant’s reluctance to engage and co-operate, declining to attend the welfare meeting and provide answers to medical questionnaires, the fact that Mrs Wilkinson’s response to the claimant’s lack of co-operation and delay in resolving matters by calling her to a medical incapacity hearing was a reasonable response to the claimant’s uncooperative behaviour."

Evidence suggested it would have taken a minimum of three further months from the point of dismissal to consider if Ms O'Brien could conceivably return to work at the 1,200-pupil school.

Judge Serota went on to say: "One does not need to be a management consultant to see that in a large school, which I have referred to as having problems, the absence of the head of an important department holding a leadership role for 17 months, with her teaching responsibilities having to be covered by having to make additional payments to a part-time teacher and also her leadership and development and administrative roles having to be covered by colleagues (if covered at all), would have had a significant effect on the school especially in these times of austerity and shortage of resources."

Ms O'Brien could not be reached for comment and Bolton St Catherine's Academy did not comment.