Teacher Injured Breaking Up Playground Fights Gets More Than £100,000

Birmingham City Council
Birmingham City Council

A council has been criticised after it paid out £113,905 compensation to a teacher who was hurt breaking up a playground brawl.

In another case, it gave a school caretaker £40,000 after he trapped his thumb in a window. And in another, a dinner lady was paid £1,500 for injuries caused by a 'defective saucepan lid'.

The figures, released under the Freedom of Information Act, showed Birmingham City Council gave council employees £546,753 in compensation, while compensation and costs claims by pupils and visitors amounted to £364,775 between 2009-2014.

These included:

• Pupil climbed on to pencil-shaped wooden stumps and fell: £11,100;

• Injury to hand and wrist while moving a computer: £12,835;

• Fire door slammed shut jamming thumb: £13,945;

• Stacked tables fell down and metal hinge caught foot: £11,716;

• Fell off bike in playground causing laceration to right calf: £15,266;

• Injury while doing gymnastics during PE lesson: £3,874;

• Member of staff slipped on food on floor: £6,000;

• Pupil hit by blind which fell from window as they were sitting in a lesson: £1,032.

In addition, a student who was hit in the face by a ball received £18,316, a pupil who suffered a chemical burn to their hand in a science lesson received £17,250, and another who suffered 'debility contracted during a camping trip' was paid £19,288.

Jonathan Isaby, chief executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance said: "An extraordinary sum of taxpayers' money has been paid out in playground compensation claims, some of which appear frivolous by any stretch of the imagination.

"Legal fees on top of this will only add to the bill landing on residents' doorsteps.

"This is further evidence of a compensation culture out of control that councils and ministers must do a better job of counteracting."

One deputy headteacher said: "Schools feel like they are treading on eggshells with children and staff these days.

"We are living in a blame culture, and thousands of pounds are being spent on settling these sort of claims rather than being invested in children's education."

A spokesman for Birmingham City Council said that health and safety of pupils and staff was 'a paramount consideration' but admitted there was 'always room for improvements'.

He said: "When accidents do occur, appropriate reviews are undertaken, safety policy is revised as required and lessons learned to ensure we continue to maintain high standards of safety."