Millions paid out in compensation for teachers injured or assaulted at work

Tens of millions of pounds in compensation was paid out to teachers last year after staff suffered serious injuries and discrimination at work, new figures show.

One of those compensated included a 59-year-old teacher who was awarded £185,000 when she needed spinal surgery after being knocked to the ground by a pupil.

The pay-out, which was won by the NASUWT teaching union, was one of the highest compensation settlements made to teachers in 2015.

In total, the NASUWT secured over £16 million for members last year, an amount that covers compensation for unfair dismissal, personal injury and criminal assault.

One member of the NUT teaching union received £171,000 from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority after they were brutally assaulted by an intruder who had gained access to the secondary school where they were working.

The psychological impact was so severe that the teacher was unable to continue working and left on the grounds of ill health.

Another member of the NUT was awarded £6,000 from the police after it disclosed child protection allegations to his employers even though they had been made 10 years previously, were never investigated and did not appear on his CRB [criminal records bureau] certificate.

A 55-year-old teacher belonging to the NASUWT who banged his head on a concrete floor when the chair he sat on broke apart was awarded £100,000 – it was later discovered that three bolts were missing from the chair.

And a woman who injured her knee when she tripped over hazard tape that had been used to repair a tear in the lino of her science classroom, was awarded £55,000.

The NASUWT said that it had 154 personal injury claims for members referred to its solicitors during 2015 and 30 criminal assault cases were opened.

The NUT approved 130 cases for legal assistance during 2015, including two personal injury cases, 71 criminal cases and 57 employment cases. It does not give a total for the full amount it won for members.

The NUT’s personal injury cases that concluded last year included £46,000 for a teacher who had severe psychological injury following a sustained campaign of bullying by senior leadership.

Another teacher who fractured the little finger on her left hand on a doorknob received £4,445.64.

The Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) said it secured more than £5 million for members in compromise agreements, almost £400,000 for members who lodged employment tribunal claims and nearly £900,000 for injured members and their families.

Chris Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT, said: “If employers took the welfare of staff seriously and followed good employment and health and safety practices many of these injuries would never have occurred.

“The consequence of negligence is careers, lives and health blighted and millions of pounds of public money spent in compensation.

“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.”

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