Orange peel, wet leaves and 'something gooey' - school cash claims uncovered

PUBLISHED: 09:00 02 September 2013

A claim was launched after a slip on an orange peel

A claim was launched after a slip on an orange peel


A WOODEN rocket mishap, wet leaves and sidestepping a piece of ham were just a few of the reasons pupils and staff have claimed for cash payouts of thousands of pounds in North Somerset schools.

Legal action was also launched over a pupil who tripped over wet leaves, a ‘small campfire explosion’ and a youngster who hurt themself trying to perform a backflip in a school show.

A member of staff made a claim after sidestepping a piece of ham in the lunch hall and slipping on ‘something gooey’, while an injury sustained on a recovery room doorframe has also seen action filed.

The Taxpayers’ Alliance says the figures reveal a growing ‘school yard compensation culture’ which is undermining children’s time in the classroom.

Further incidents unearthed by a Mercury Freedom of Information Act investigation included a member of staff who pocketed £2,379 after tripping on orange peel, while a slip on a wet floor won a pupil almost £10,000.

In total, North Somerset Council was hit with 35 public and employers liability claims in its schools between 2008 and 2013.

The authority paid out £12,442 to a pupil at St Martin’s Junior School after she was building a wooden rocket and the teacher pumped hot glue onto her arm, causing burns.

A pupil at Worle Community School filed a claim for more than £7,000 in damages after suffering an injury when attempting to perform a backflip as part of a show.

Another claim at the same school saw a pupil win £9,666 after slipping on a wet floor while walking to his tutor room and fracturing his elbow.

A pupil at Milton Park Primary School has an outstanding case for £9,128 of damages after tripping on a door strip leading into the ‘recovery room’ and suffering injuries.

More than £15,000 of damages was awarded to a pupil at St Katherine’s School who was running towards the school’s playing fields to play rugby and slipped on wet leaves on the path, falling down a grassy bank and cutting his knee open on a protruding paving slab.

But it wasn’t just pupils who suffered mishaps – several claims were made by teaching staff or cleaners.

A teacher is claiming for £17,000 of damages after jarring her back by tripping on ‘something gooey’ in the lunch hall of Backwell School.

A cleaner at Worle school won £9,346 after tripping on a bag handle and suffering a broken wrist.

Other claims which were refuted and did not lead to payouts include a pupil who had a trampoline dropped on their arm, a youngster who tripped on a decorative wooden donkey, a pupil who lost the majority of her front teeth after a playground shove and an electric shock on a live wire in a music room.

Eleanor McGrath, campaign manager of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “These figures highlight the serious school-yard compensation culture that has grown in recent years.

“Some of the claims may have been legitimate, but too often a good number could have been avoided with a bit of common sense.

“Compensation claims are not just a burden on the taxpayer but also undermine children’s time in the classroom.

“Money spent on pay-outs for a bump and scratch means less cash for books and school equipment.”

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