Teachers claim record £40m in compensation payments, figures reveal


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The Independent Online

Record compensation payments totalling around £40 million have been paid out to teachers in the past year as a result of a spate of accidents in schools and botched attempts to fire teachers.

The National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers today reveals its members have clocked up £20.6 million worth of compensation deals in the past year - a 30 per cent rise in the previous year's figures.

When the amounts earned by members of the other two major teachers' unions are included, the final figure is expected to be the region of £40 million.

In one case, a 33-year-old woman teacher in the West Midlands won £113,905 in compensation after trying to sort out a fight between two warring pupils dangerously close to a balcony area.

The two boys then set on her and as a result she suffered injuries to her face, head, right arm and shoulder. She suffered sever post-traumatic stress disorder and was unable to return to work.

However, this year's case histories show an increasing number resulting from attempts to fire teachers who are either sick or considered to be poor by school management ,possibly as a result of school budget cuts and pressure from ministers to crack down on poor standards.

In one case fought by the National Union of Teachers, a female primary school teacher talked about her desire to move on but then found she was suffering from cancer. The school deemed she had already resigned and terminated her contract of employment. She won £16,000 compensation.

In another case brought by the NASUWT, the union won £50,000 from an employment tribunal for a sacked by a school which failed to follow proper redundancy procedures.

Chris Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT, said: "The tragedy is the compensation would have been unnecessary if employers had followed good employment practice. Instead, teachers have had their careers, lives and health blighted and millions of pounds worth of public money has had to be spent.

"Employers flout the law but it is the teachers and taxpayers who pay the price."