Damages paid to teachers for assaults and accidents in the classroom soar by a quarter in a year

 

Teachers have won record damages in the past year after a spate of assaults and accidents in the classroom.

Figures disclosed by the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers today show they netted £15, 610, 924 in compensation – a 25 per cent increase on the previous year’s figure.

If the compensation deals secured by the three biggest teachers' organisations are added together, the figure is likely to exceed £30m.

The biggest payout was £268,787 for a teacher from the North-East who intervened to help a colleague who was being assaulted by a pupil.

The 45-year-old tried to restrain the pupil and was kicked repeatedly for his efforts – and then assaulted from behind by another pupil.  He suffered sever physical injuries and later developed palpitations and panic attacks.

The award covered compensation for a “disabling mental illness” stemming from the attack.

During 2012, the union secured 93 pay-outs for teachers who were the victims of assault.  A further 263 cases were still pending at the end of the year.

In another case, a 45-year-old woman teacher from the West Midlands was assaulted by a pupil in her classroom but was able to return to work after suffering minor injuries.

The incident was reported to the police but the pupil’s family subsequently made serious allegations against her which triggered off a child protection investigation.

After a lengthy investigation, the Crown Prosecution Service recommended no action but the whole episode left the teacher suffering stress and a psychiatric reaction which eventually forced her to retire on ill-health grounds.  She was awarded £181, 305 compensation.

In a third case, a technology teacher was working in an inadequately ventilated workshop for 10 years and developed rhinitis, sinusitis and occupational asthma.  The 39-year-old from the East of England won £240,000 damages.

Another teacher in the North-west was punched in the stomach by a seven-year-old boy.  The 50-year-old woman teacher sought medical help – and her condition deteriorated two months later to the extent she had to be admitted to hospital.  She was paid £118,865 in compensation and also forced to retire on ill health grounds.

Chris Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT, said: “It is clear from these cases that if employers followed good employment and health and safety practice then teachers wouldn’t have had to face these dramatic events and there wouldn’t have been costs of millions of pounds to taxpayers.”

She added that employers had “deliberately flouted the law”, adding:  “It is teachers and taxpayers who have to pay the price.

“Every one of these cases is a person that has been damaged physically or emotionally … The distress and pressure of the incident to the individual teacher and their family is often compounded by legal action and court proceedings before any award is made.

“Whilst the 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 Association of Teachers and Lecturers said it had netted £5.5 million in payouts to its members this year.  The National Union of Teachers said it did not keep records of the total amount paid out to teachers.  However, in one case, a member secured £382,000 in damages after he sought to confiscate a football and had his arm slammed into a cabinet.

In another case, a teacher who slipped on some water won £6,000 damages but his employers claimed he spilt it himself.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

Recruitment Genius: Nursery Nurse and Room Leader - Hackney

£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a qualified childcare p...

AER Teachers: PPA TEACHER/MENTOR

£27000 - £37000 per annum: AER Teachers: THE SCHOOL: This is a large and vibra...

AER Teachers: EYFS Teacher

£27000 - £37000 per annum: AER Teachers: EYFS TEACHERAn 'Outstanding' Primary ...

AER Teachers: YEAR 3 TEACHER - PREPARATORY SCHOOL

£27000 - £40000 per annum: AER Teachers: YEAR 3 TEACHER - PREPARATORY SCHOOLA ...

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones