Education & Family

Teachers win millions in compensation over injuries

Nasuwt conference
Image caption The NASUWT is meeting for its conference in Birmingham

Teachers won millions of pounds in compensation last year after suffering discrimination and serious injuries in the line of work, a union said.

A 59-year-old teacher from London received £185,000 after she slipped a disc in her back after she was knocked to the ground by two unruly pupils.

A member of teaching staff in north Wales was given £100,000 compensation when the chair he sat on collapsed.

The NASUWTteaching union said it had won £16,077,328 for members last year.

A Department for Education spokesperson said: "School employers are responsible for the health and safety of staff and pupils whether the local authority, governing body or academy trust, and they must adhere to the Health and Safety Act 1974."

'Negligence'

Teachers also received smaller payouts over accidents in the workplace, including a £55,000 package for a female member of staff in north-west England who tripped on a tear in the lino surface of her science classroom.

She was later diagnosed with chronic back syndrome.

NASUWT general secretary Chris Keates said many of the injuries would be reduced if employers "took the welfare of staff seriously" and followed good health and safety practices.

She said: "The consequence of negligence is careers, lives and health blighted and millions of pounds of public money spent in compensation.

"Unfortunately, there is no incentive for employers to take health and welfare seriously when they witness the government cutting funding for inspection and failing to take steps to secure compliance with the law.

"Failure to respect the rights of employees and to comply with employment law is also prevalent.

"Employers flout the law, but it's the teachers and the taxpayers who pay the price.

"While compensation is important, it can never make up for the fact that teachers suffer permanent physical and mental injury and often cannot continue in their chosen career."

'Psychological injury'

Separate data from the NUT, which keeps its overall compensation figures private, said there were two cases of personal injury compensation paid to its members last year.

One included a £46,000 payout to a teacher who suffered "severe psychological injury" following "a sustained campaign of bullying and harassment by senior leadership".

Another NUT member was awarded just under £4,500 after she fractured a finger on a defective doorknob, causing her long-term aches and a deformity.

The union said it offered legal help in 130 cases last year, including 71 involving criminal activity and 57 in employment cases.

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