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Primary Education News
News Rise in teachers' injury payouts
NASUWT union says it secured record £15.6m for its members last year, including £66,000 for teacher who slipped on moss
Teachers won record amounts of compensation last year after suffering accidents, injuries or assaults at school, figures show.
One secondary school teacher was awarded more than £382,000 after his arm was caught in a filing cabinet, and another won £240,000 after working in a poorly ventilated workshop for a decade, according to information published by teaching unions.
The payouts, worth tens of millions of pounds in total, included settlements paid to teachers who tripped or slipped at school.
The NASUWT union said it had secured a record £15.6m for its members last year, almost 24% more than in 2011.
It said the largest work-related criminal assault payout was for a 45-year-old school worker in the north-east who intervened to help a colleague who was being attacked by a pupil. He was kicked by the pupil and attacked from behind by another student. He was awarded £268,787 including damages.
A 39-year-old technology teacher from the east of England received a settlement worth £240,000 after working in a poorly ventilated workshop left him with allergies and sinus problems.
A teacher from Northern Ireland who slipped on a patch of moss, breaking her leg in two places and dislocating her ankle, was awarded £66,291.
The NASUWT general secretary, Chris Keates, said: "Behind every one of these cases is a person who has been damaged physically or mentally, either because of injury or unfair dismissal.
"The distress and pressure of the incident to the individual teacher and their family has often been compounded by years of legal action and court proceedings before any award is made. While compensation is important, it can never make up for the fact that many of these teachers suffer permanent physical and mental injury and often cannot continue in their chosen career."
The National Union of Teachers (NUT) does not release an overall figure for the amount of compensation won on behalf of its members.
One of its members, a secondary school teacher in the south-west, was awarded £382,930 in a Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) case after a pupil slammed his arm in a filing cabinet while trying to grab a confiscated football. The teacher was unable to carry on working.
There were also settlements for teachers who suffered personal injuries. One teacher from the London area was given a payout worth £13,500 after tripping on loose carpet and fracturing her elbow. Another from the Yorkshire area got £9,000 for fracturing her elbow when she slipped on an "unusually shiny" classroom floor, the NUT said.
The Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) said it had secured more than £4.3m for members last year in work settlements plus around £1.2m for injured members and their families.