Hurt teachers receive millions

Teachers won millions of pounds in compensation last year after accidents, injuries, assaults and discrimination at school, new figures show.

In one case, a teacher was awarded more than £222,000 after suffering a brain injury when a pupil hit her in the head with a bus door. Another was handed almost £175,000 after being punched in the head by the parent of a pupil.

Others were given settlements of thousands of pounds after tripping or slipping at school, the figures show.

The NASUWT teaching union alone secured £12.6 million last year, almost a 20% increase on the 2010 figure of £10.5 million. This is for claims including personal and criminal injury, unfair dismissal and employment cases.

Their largest out-of-court personal injury settlement was for a teacher in the North West who slipped on mud, which was the result of building work, during a fire drill, and hurt her back. The woman was awarded £158,000.

A teacher at a primary school for children with special needs was awarded £74,689 after an aggressive parent threatened her while she was alone in a classroom. She had a psychiatric breakdown, ending her 32-year teaching career.

NASUWT general secretary Chris Keates said: "Employers who deliberately flout the law are not only causing distress, ill-health and job loss, they are costing taxpayers millions of pounds. Behind each of these cases is a person whose life has been damaged through serious injury or unfair dismissal from their chosen career. Compensation is important but it is cold comfort when they have lost their job, or their mental or physical health is irreparably damaged."

The National Union of Teachers does not release an overall figure for the amount of compensation won on behalf of its members.

One of its members from the Midlands was awarded £21,289 after falling over a bag of balls, injuring her hip, while another got an £11,000 settlement after a large interactive whiteboard fell on her head, leaving her with a head injury that caused continuing headaches and dizziness.

A teacher from the North slipped on a book that was hidden by a floor mat, fracturing her right elbow and wrist. Her case was settled for £25,674 and costs. And a teacher in the south of England was given £7,000 after a kettle was knocked over by a colleague, sending boiling water down their back.