Compensation for teachers – education bosses need to learn a lesson

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New figures show that teachers were awarded significant compensation claim settlements in 2010 for accidents, injuries and assaults on school grounds.

According to the Times Educational Supplement, and verified by the NASUWT union, members of that union received a total of £10.5 million in compensation. Members of The Association of Teachers won £5 million. And the blame is being laid firmly at education bosses’ failure to ensure health and safety in the workplace.

Teachers and personal injury claims

One teacher received £200,000 after slipping on a grape which caused further hernia damage and left him unable to work again. Another teacher who slipped on spilt food in the school hall received £100,000 when she suffered a compressed disc in her back. Another dining hall accident saw an £80,000 payout for a teacher who slipped and broke her leg, tore ligaments and suffered damaged nerves. She was unable to return to teaching. And a male teacher who tripped on a pothole in the school car park, injuring his back so badly he needed surgery, was awarded £292,795 in recognition of his inability to return to work.

Whilst these compensation claim settlements can seem over generous, the NASUWT says they are 'no cause for celebration'. General secretary Chris Keates said: "Behind each of these cases is a person whose life has been changed through serious injury or unfair dismissal from their chosen career".

"Compensation is important but it is cold comfort if your health is irreparably damaged or your professional career has ended."

The National Union of Teachers, which represented the teacher who slipped on a grape, said the payout covered loss of earnings and pension.

"Evidence showed that the school were aware of littering problems around the school but had not taken action to prevent or minimise it," the union said.

Another teacher who was attacked by a pupil as she tried to stop a fight received £202,108 for injuries to her back and shoulder and for the mental anxiety she suffered as a result of the assault. She, too, was unable to return to work.


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