£600,000 compensation paid to Scottish teachers for assaults and accidents

16 Jan 2017

A Scottish teacher was left with serious neck and shoulder injuries after being jumped on and strangled by a pupil.


The assault on the individual, who has not been named, was so severe they were left with whiplash-style injuries and received £55,000 in compensation.

The case emerged as the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) teaching union revealed details of compensation payments to members in 2016.

In another incident a teacher was paid more than £6,000 after being punched on the neck and in the stomach by a pupil who also kicked their legs.

Overall some £600,000 was paid out to Scottish teachers and college lecturers in 2013/14 with the figure dramatically up on previous years which have seen as little as £180,000 paid out.

The most common cause of injuries are accidents such as slips, trips and falls prompting calls from the EIS for better school safety procedures.

However, Larry Flanagan, general secretary of the EIS, said the union had observed an "alarming" rise in the number of cases of work-related stress over the past few years.

He said: "Factors such as budget cuts and the declining number of teaching and support staff have had a significant impact on the workload demands placed on teachers and lecturers.

"Despite this, those in the charge of the management of the education system simply demand more output from less resource. This is compounded by the fact many teachers return to work when they clearly should be still be off sick for fear of being disciplined.

"This increases the incidence of work-related stress injury, which c
an be absolutely debilitating for the individuals concerned."

Mr Flanagan also warned about possible changes to health and safety legislation following the UK's decision to leave the European Union.

He said: "Brexit may have significant repercussions for health and safety law in this country. While some politicians love to mock EU law, the truth is many of the valuable workplace protections that we enjoy are the result of EU legislation.

"Once the UK has left the EU, these protections may well come under attack from a UK government that seems not to place the welfare of employees particularly high on its list of priorities."

Stephanie Primrose, education spokeswoman for council umbrella body Cosla, defended the role of local authorities saying: "Councils are recognised as good employers by the Fair Work Convention.

"This is not only reflected in terms and conditions, but also in a responsible and supportive attitude to health and safety at work.

"Teachers, like all our employees, are valued colleagues and we do all we can to prevent incidents which may result in injury. Compensation claims are dealt with on an individual basis as you would expect."

Other incidents record by the EIS in 2016 included a teacher who was paid £12,500 after developing a severe back injury carrying heavy boxes at work.

Another EIS member was paid £12,500 after fracturing a knee after tripping over a metal wedge used to keep a door open.

In the college sector a lecturer who specialised in tree surgery was paid £10,000 after their hearing was damaged after being exposed to the noise of chain saw and chipping machines whilst wearing inadequate ear defenders.

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