Teacher who had kneecap kicked off by pupil leads £470k compensation

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A Scottish teacher who had their kneecap kicked off by a violent pupil was one of 20 members of the profession to win compensation for injuries sustained at work in the past year.

Compensation totalling more than £450,000 was paid out to teachers working north of the border in 2017, figures released by the nation’s largest teaching union show.

A total of 20 teachers in Scotland won compensation for injuries at work in the past year

A total of 20 teachers in Scotland won compensation for injuries at work in the past year

The total figure of £469,758 includes £76,877 which was shared among four teachers who lodged separate claims after incidents of violence at the hands of pupils and parents.

In one particularly shocking case, a teacher was awarded £12,452 after a pupil kicked out and dislodged their kneecap, forcing them to undergo an operation.

Another teacher was granted compensation of £45,000 after being “repeatedly punched and kicked” by a pupil, leaving them with injuries to their ribs, the figures from the EIS union show.

Another was given a payout of £17,125 after receiving a “flying kick” that left them with injuries to the lower back and hip.

A fourth received £2,300 after suffering headaches, sleep disturbance and panic attacks as a result of a parent shouting and swearing in their face.

The vast majority of payouts were triggered by work-related accidents. The highest payment of £220,000 went to a teacher who slipped on a wet floor in a dark corridor, suffering a fractured hip.

A teacher on a school trip was awarded £31,000 after falling in a car park, while compensation of £19,907 was paid to another who suffered concussion after a shelf came down on their head.

EIS general secretary Larry Flanagan that while the number of work-related injuries had declined over the past year, there had been an “alarming rise” in reports of stress from teachers.

“Factors such as budget cuts and the declining number of teaching and support staff have had a significant impact on the workload demands placed on teachers and lecturers,” he added.

Holyrood’s opposition parties described the accounts of the violent incidents – in which neither the teacher nor pupils involved were named – as “deeply troubling”.

“The safety of teachers has to be absolutely paramount, and it’s extremely worrying to see so many incidents of serious violence in our schools,” said Scottish Conservative education spokesman Liz Smith.

“If we don’t clamp down on this now, it will become even more difficult to attract professionals into this industry.”

Her Labour counterpart Iain Gray added: “Any kind of violence in schools is clearly unacceptable and should not happen.

“Such acts will only deter more people from going into teaching, which is already enduring a staffing crisis on the SNP.”

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “Every pupil and teacher should feel safe from harm at school and in their community. Local authorities have a statutory responsibility to maintain their schools to a safe and sufficient standard.”

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