Orange peel, wet leaves and 'something gooey' - school cash claims uncovered
PUBLISHED: 09:00 02 September 2013
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.”