School heavily fined after 13 year old pupil is paralysed
A school has been heavily fined for safety failings after a pupil was left paralysed when a swing collapsed.
Queenswood School, in Shepherd’s Way, Brookmans Park, was fined a total of £50,000 and ordered to pay £90,693 in costs after pleading guilty at St Albans Magistrates’ Court last Friday (January 15).
The court heard how in September 2011, a 13-year-old girl at the school was playing on a wooden swing in an adventure playground, when it collapsed.
The heavy wooden cross beam of the swing fell onto the pupil’s head and neck, which injured her spine and left her permanently paralysed.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the swing had collapsed because the supporting timbers had rotted.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Alison Ashworth said: “This case shows how important it is that schools and other providers of play equipment maintain them in a safe condition.
“This tragic accident could have been avoided had the school implemented the findings of its own risk assessment.”
In a statement, the school said the “thoughts of everyone at Queenswood" remain with the pupil and her family, and wished them the “very best for the future”.
It added: “She has shown incredible courage in rebuilding her life after this awful accident. “The well-being of all our pupils is paramount and the school has in place rigorous safety measures to accomplish this.
“The school has co-operated throughout the Health and Safety Executive’s investigation, and during this case.”