School is a dangerous place for teachers and pupils alike

Industry news roundup: week ended 1 Apr 2013:

It doesn’t matter if you’re a teacher or a pupil – schools in the UK are apparently incredibly dangerous places according to the newest compensation figures.

In fact – and you’ll probably be just as surprised as I was to learn this – last year’s personal injury compensation payouts to teachers topped £25 million in the UK. Personal injury claims made by teachers ranged from slips, trips and falls, being victimised by sexual or racial prejudice, and in several cases were the result of assaults upon teachers by pupils.

Hundreds of thousands of pounds have been paid to teachers for injuries related to pupil-caused injuries. In fact, one West Country teacher was the recipient of more than £380,000 in damages after one pupil attack, while another teacher at a special school walked off with nearly £280,000 for the physical and psychological injuries she sustained when an autistic pupil leaped on her, knocking her from a minibus.

But lest you think that it’s just teachers getting soundly drubbed by out-of-control pupils, children have been suffering their own injuries as well. In fact, pupils in Essex County alone have racked up a £220,000 legal bill in the wake of injurious accidents over the course of just two years.

While Essex County’s 2011 and 2012 accident claims have yet to be settled, the cases from 2008 to 2010 have been tabulated and revealed to the public recently, featuring several injuries worth anywhere from £23,000 to £28,000. Injuries were listed as being caused by a myriad of sources such as ‘defective monkey bars’ or injuries sustained from falls from climbing equipment or, in one case, the damage a pupil sustained to their face after they smashed into a wooden window ledge.

Essex County Council released the figures following a Freedom of Information requet, revealing that there were 17 injury claims that were brought and were decided in favour of the injured party over the past five years. One of these claims was due to a slip and fall caused by wintry weather conditions, the released official documents revealed.

Now let’s be honest for a moment – we all know that accidents happen to younger children, as skinned knees and the occasional chipped tooth aren’t so uncommon in the course of growing up. However, it seems to me that the injuries that teachers are being subjected to are a bit of a cause for concern – especially since so many of them seem to be stemming from violence perpetrated by pupils themselves; what in the world could be going on in UK primary schools that teachers are getting so soundly beaten?