A teenager suffered a broken nose after he was headbutted outside the gates of a school.

Police were called to the gates of Greensward Academy, in Greensward Lane, Hockley, on Wednesday afternoon to reports someone had been assaulted.

Witnesses reported a man in a high-visibility jacket had headbutted a teenager who happened to be a former pupil.

The assault resulted in the 16-year-old boy suffering a broken nose.

It is unknown what company the contractor worked for but the school have confirmed he will not be returning to the site.

Katie Scarnell, principal of Greensward Academy, praised her staff and pupils for keeping the “volatile situation” from escalating.

Mrs Scarnell added: “There was an incident on Greensward Lane on Wednesday afternoon involving a member of the public and a subcontracted worker who was not an employee of the academy.

“Once the school was made aware of the incident the police were called and staff went into the local community to assist and support our students.

“They went to the local train station and waited with the students to ensure their safe passage home.

“Several older students also assisted the younger ones to move them out of the way and reassure them. I am very proud of the way both our staff and students reacted and what could have been a volatile situation was diffused thanks to their quick response.”

A spokesman for Essex Police said: “A man has been arrested following an incident in Hockley where a teenager was assaulted. A 16 year-old boy suffered a broken nose after he was headbutted on Wednesday.

“A 35-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of assault and has since been released under investigation.”

Anyone with information should contact Essex Police on 101.