A PE teacher was awarded over £40,000 after injuring himself demonstrating to pupils how to perform the long jump. The unnamed teacher, thought to be a 25-year-old man from the South East, dislocated his knee and sustained soft tissue damage after landing awkwardly in the pit, which is believed to have been badly maintained.
The incident is one of a large and increasing number of cases in which teachers have been given five or even six-figure sums for injuries suffered in the course of their work. Teachers made injury claims worth more than £26 million over the past year.
In two other high-profile cases, teachers were awarded £70,000 each. One injured her hip and developed arthritis as a result, and she ended up having to take early retirement after she slipped on a wet floor. No warning signs had been displayed, suggesting the accident was entirely avoidable. In a separate incident, a teacher lost her memory after tripping on a carpet and hitting her head on a bookshelf.
One teacher was awarded over £200,000 as a result of cancer that was deemed to have been caused by long-term exposure to asbestos in the classroom. A significant number of smaller but still serious accidents have resulted in four and five-figure payouts.
The NASUWT (teachers union) reports that compensation claims for 2015 have been substantially higher than in recent years. The figure of £26 million represents a 30 per cent rise on 2014, when £19.8 million was paid out. In 2013 some £20.7 was paid in compensation.
Teachers have the right to compensation if they are injured in accidents that are not their fault, just as employees are in any other occupation. However, the large rise in claims may reflect wider grievances about pay and working conditions. Recent surveys show that teachers are increasingly dissatisfied with their jobs, with high workload, changes to pay and pensions, and school inspections causing the most resentment.
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