TEACHERS AND school staff in Yorkshire have been awards almost two million pounds in compensation last year after facing attacks from pupils, injuries and discrimination at school.
The NASUWT teachers union says it has helped to secure £1.98m for its members in the Yorkshire region last year.
This included £85,000 for a 63-year-old school worker who suffered a broken hand, stress and anxiety after being assaulted and tackled to the floor by a pupil as she took them out of the classroom after they attacked another pupil. The incident happened in 2010. The member had a period of sick leave as a result of the incident, before retiring.
Nationally the compensation figure was 19.8m. The largest personal injury claim was for a retired 70-year-old science teacher from the East Midlands who was awarded more than £200,000 after being diagnosed with mesothelioma - an asbestos-related cancer. Between 1973 and 1984 she had taught in classrooms that had asbestos in the prefabricated buildings, ceiling tiles and wall panels. The NASUWT said as the teacher taught science, she also had to regularly handle asbestos mats. In another case, a London school worker who was assaulted by an autistic student received compensation totalling nearly £180,000. There were also examples of teachers receiving smaller payouts because of accidents in the workplace, including a teacher who received £5,000 after getting her foot caught in a coat lying on a cloakroom floor.
NASUWT general secretary Chris Keates said: “The tragedy is that in most cases compensation would be unnecessary if employers followed good employment practices and appropriate health and safety procedures. Instead, teachers have their careers, lives and health blighted and millions of pounds of public money has to be spent in compensation.”
Separate data from the NUT, shows that one of their members was assaulted by an autistic pupil who punched her in the legs during a day trip out, forcing her to undergo knee replacement surgery. She was awarded compensation of £178,000. The data comes on the day that the NUT and NASUWT are due to meet for their annual conferences, in Harrogate and Cardiff respectively.