Classroom Attacks on Teachers by Pupils Results in Successful Personal Injury Claims Totalling £400,000 Settled in 2015
Teaching was always viewed as a difficult (if not hugely fulfilling) occupation, however nobody ever enters the profession believing that their health and safety could be endangered as it often is today.
As reports of violent assaults and unprovoked attacks on teaching staff become more commonplace, it’s perhaps, although admittedly still shocking, to learn that nearly £400,000 was paid out to teachers during 2015 as a direct result of being on the receiving end of physical abuse from pupils.
A new survey has revealed the full extent of the situation teachers face in the classroom these days, which lifts the lid on the fact that some 26 compensation claims (in relation to personal injury) were settled last year, with one single case resulting in a £60,000 award.
A study of councils shed light on just what fearful scenarios some teaching staff face within their line of work, with some observers comparing certain situations and examples as being ‘akin to war zones’.
Cases such as the Staffordshire teaching assistant who received £2,850 after sustaining facial (including dental) injuries at the hands of a pupil and a London-based member of teaching staff who was subjected to a ball of clay being thrown at them, causing injuries which ultimately led to a claim for compensation of £14,085 being agreed by all parties.
Elsewhere there were numerous recorded incidents whereby teachers were set upon by furniture and school equipment-wielding students, intent on causing bodily harm to educational staff then and there.
Like for example the teaching assistant in Wandsworth in London who suffered injuries after being struck by a chair thrown by an unruly pupil purposefully looking to cause harm, which ended up with the victim receiving £27,705 in compensation, whilst another teaching assistant – this time undertaking their role in a school located in another London suburb, Bexley – pursued a claim which when successful afforded them a £22,362 pay-out after all legal sides took into account on learning that the claimant’s head had been struck by a door, kicked by a pupil in anger.
Meanwhile there were various accounts of staff suffering injuries after stepping in to restrain pupils who were determined to inflict injuries on fellow children, having lost control of their own tempers; with Cambridgeshire Council settled 3 such cases for a total of £26,460.
News of such personal injury claim pay-outs amongst teaching staff follows a series of headlines which documented several high profile cases which saw pupils launch vicious physical assaults on teachers in school environments throughout the UK, not least the tragic circumstances which surrounded the death of Leeds teacher, Ann Maguire who was murdered in front of a class of horrified pupils a couple of years back; and which eventually led to a 15-year old student charged with her unlawful killing and sentenced to a minimum of 20-years behind bars.
Experts are of the opinion that these statistics could just be scratching the surface, and cite many councils facilitating established data protection acts in a blatant bid to avoid exposing the true extent of pupil-teacher attacks. This is fuelled by news that’s coincided with the personal injury claim revelations that separately confirms cases of 20,000 individual incidents involving schoolchildren being either suspended or expelled in response to carrying out assaults on teachers during the last school year.