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Teachers get millions in compensation payouts; HIGHEST AWARD OF pounds 222,000 FOLLOWING BUS-DOOR ATTACK.

Byline: ALISON KERSHAW

TEACHERS won millions of pounds in compensation last year after accidents, injuries, assaults and discrimination at school, new figures show.

In one case, a teacher was awarded more than pounds 222,000 after suffering a brain injury when a pupil hit her in the head with a bus door. Another was awarded almost pounds 175,000 after being punched in the head by the parent of a pupil.

Others were given settlements of thousands of pounds after tripping or slipping at school, the figures show.

The NASUWT teaching union alone secured pounds 12.6m last year, almost a 20% increase on the 2010 figure of pounds 10.5m. This is for claims including personal and criminal injury, unfair dismissal and employment cases.

Its largest out-of-court personal injury settlement was for a teacher in the north west of England who slipped on mud, which was the result of building work, during a fire drill, and hurt her back. The woman was awarded pounds 158,000.

A teacher at a primary school for children with special needs was awarded pounds 74,689 after an aggressive parent threatened her while she was alone in a classroom. She had a psychiatric breakdown, ending her 32-year teaching career.

NASUWT general secretary Chris Keates said: "Employers who deliberately flout the law are not only causing distress, ill-health and job loss, they are costing taxpayers millions of pounds.

"Behind each of these cases is a person whose life has been damaged through serious injury or unfair dismissal from their chosen career.

"Compensation is important but it is cold comfort when they have lost their job, or their mental or physical health is irreparably damaged."

The National Union of Teachers does not release an overall figure for the amount of compensation won on behalf of its members.

One of its members from the Midlands was awarded pounds 21,289 after falling over a bag of balls, injuring her hip, while another got an pounds 11,000 settlement after a large interactive whiteboard fell on her head, leaving her with a head injury that caused continuing headaches and dizziness.

A teacher from the north of England slipped on a book that was hidden by a floor mat, fracturing her right elbow and wrist. Her case was settled for pounds 25,674 and costs.

And a teacher in the south of England was given pounds 7,000 after a kettle was knocked over by a colleague, sending boiling water down their back,.

One of the NUT's largest settlements was for a teacher in the eastern region, working at a school for pupils with learning and behavioural problems, who suffered a brain injury after being hit in the head with a bus door by a student.

She was awarded pounds 222,215 for injuries, loss of earnings and future losses.

And in a Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) case, an NUT member from the Midlands was awarded pounds 172,676 after being punched in the head by a pupil's parent.

The Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) said it achieved more than pounds 4.5m for its members in compromise agreements last year, and around pounds 800,000 for injured members and their families.

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* The NASUWT teaching union alone secured pounds 12.6m last year in compensation for teachers injured in school incidents
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Apr 6, 2012
Words:569
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