£1.4 million compensation award for work-related injuries in Scottish schools

Picture: TSPL
Picture: TSPL
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A TEACHER who received £81,000 after a number of incidents involving the same violent pupil is among those sharing in a record £1.4 million in compensation for work-related injuries received in Scotland’s schools.

• Educational Institute of Scotland said the teacher was subject to “many violent incidents”

• Scottish Secondary Teachers’ Association called for violent pupils to be removed from mainstream education

Details released by the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) show the union has helped secure £1,350,000 in compensation for its members during the past year.

The figures also include a teacher who received £50,000 for a fall and another who was awarded £3,000 after inhaling toxic fumes.

The EIS said the overall figure also included a “handful” of high-value compensation cases for stress, the details of which it could not be released for confidentiality reasons.

Larry Flanagan, the union’s general secretary, said He said: “Every year we hope that the number of workplace injuries, and therefore the number of compensation cases, will fall. Sadly, the evidence of 2012 is that educational employers still have a great deal of work to do to improve the safety of our schools colleges and universities.”

In the case of the teacher who received £81,000, the EIS said the individual had been subject to “many violent incidents” involving a child with special needs.

Despite repeated requests, the employer failed to carry out a risk assessment of the pupil, the union said.

In another case, a teacher received £2,500 after receiving injuries to their back and arms while attempting to restrain a violent pupil. Meanwhile, in a third case, a teacher was awarded £1,000 after suffering bits and neck injuries at the hands of a pupil.

Mr Flanagan said it was time to look again at the current policy of exclusion, which often sees pupils end up back at their original school.

“Where pupils have committed a violent attack, they should be returned to education in a different environment, rather than going back to the school where they carried out the assault,” he said.

“Moving to another school can often be the best option for a young person as well. Our basic view is that the balance of action should lie with the victim rather than the assailant.”

Last month, the Scottish Secondary Teachers’ Association (SSTA) called for violent pupils who disrupt lessons to be removed from mainstream education.

Figures from the Scottish Government show 26,844 pupils were excluded in 2010-11, with the number of secondary pupils excluded falling dramatically over the past decade.

However, 99 per cent of exclusions are for a fixed period, with pupils expected to return to their original school. Just 60 pupils were “removed from the register” in 2010-11, being transferred to another school or taught at a special educational provision.

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “Work related injuries and any compensation payments, like all heath and safety at work issues, are a matter between the employer and employee. However, we expect councils to take appropriate action at a local level to minimise the risk to staff through their own local health and safety procedures.”

Last year, a teacher received an out-of-court settlement thought to be in the region of £250,000 after her employer’s failure to deal with an excessive workload led to a “stress-related psychiatric injury”.