i News reports that more than £1m has been handed out in compensation to teachers who have been injured while breaking up fights between their pupils or attacked themselves, over the last three years.
The payouts included one for £80,042 after a pupil gouged out a teacher’s eye in a school in Wandsworth, south-west London.
In Plymouth, a teacher was injured intervening in a fight, which resulted in compensation costs of £19,000, while a teacher in Oxfordshire was awarded more than three times that – £61,374 – when trying to restrain a student.
Government guidance states that teachers are permitted to use “reasonable force” when intervening in an altercation between their pupils, but it is down to their discretion.
Tom Bennett, an independent behaviour adviser to the Department for Education, said breaking up fights was a “grey area” for teachers. But he warned: “They’re not the police.”
By far the largest category for claims was slips, trips and falls, which came to £2.9 million. Amanda Brown, the assistant general secretary at the National Union of Teachers, said: “Compensation is only available where the employer should have known of a risk and failed to take reasonable steps to avoid an injury. More could be done to prevent such incidents with better risk assessment.”
Tens of thousands of pounds was handed out to teachers for work-related stress, including one £123,388 compensation claim for a teacher in Berkshire suffering from the illness.
The figures were obtained via a Freedom of Information request by Schools Week.
Should teachers get in involved at all? Is it a ‘where there’s blame, there’s a claim’ attitude? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin
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