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Spending cuts fuelling a rise in injury compensation claims by teachers

Continued budget cuts in schools throughout the UK has led to a significant increase in personal injury compensation claims as cuts in staff numbers has left teachers more vulnerable to assault.

Over the past 12 months, compensation payments for a range of injuries have soared as a result of physical assaults on staff by pupils. Attacks include teachers being kicked, head-butted, pushed to the ground and punched in the face, resulting in injuries from bruising and strains through to lacerations, broken bones and head injuries. There are also often long term psychological implications for teachers who have been attacked.

Data from the National Union of Teachers (NUT) shows that just under £28m in compensation has been awarded to its members in the past 12 months alone, a huge increase on previous years. General Secretary of union NASUWT (National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers) Chris Keates said that spending cutbacks, particularly on support staff, has left its members exposed:

“There isn’t enough support either inside or outside the classroom for teachers in dealing with pupil behaviour…The cuts to support staff are inevitably leaving teachers more isolated in dealing with indiscipline and without this assistance teachers are more vulnerable…Teachers are there to teach, they are not employed as crowd control or bouncers and as such need the support of a fully resourced school workforce to encourage positive pupil behaviour.”

The surge in pupil on teacher violence has resulted in successful compensation claims including:

• £48,000 awarded to a teacher who suffered a ‘prolonged assault’ by a female pupil who had been told to stop         chewing gum
• £125,000 awarded after a campaign of ‘bullying and harassment’ led a teacher to suffer a debilitating psychiatric injury
• £98,000 awarded for ‘serious psychological injuries’ following an assault by a student

A recent survey of head teachers at secondary schools has revealed that the majority of schools were facing extreme challenges in filling the holes resulting from reductions in budgets. The survey indicated that over 25% of schools had cut back on support staff, with almost 80% having been forced to make cuts on numbers of teachers and teaching assistants.

If you have suffered an injury from someone else's negligence or actions whilst at school or college, the friendly team at The Accident Claimline will be happy to provide help and guidance. You can reach us on 0800 977 4852 or via email here.

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