The NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union in the UK, secured compensation of £16,077,328.53 for members during 2015.

The compensation was awarded for successful claims including unfair dismissal, personal injuries and criminal assault.

The NASUWT secured £185,000 for a 59-year-old female member from London who suffered serious back injuries after being knocked to the ground by a pupil.

The member was injured when a pupil was disrupting her class, jumping on tables and hitting other children. As the pupil ran out of the door he knocked the member over causing injury to her back. A week later, the member was about to start a lesson when two boys ran out of the room. The second boy knocked into the member, causing her to fall to the ground. An MRI scan showed that member had slipped a disc in her back. The member subsequently underwent a spinal surgery.

The Union commenced court proceedings for the member in respect of both accidents. The member was able to obtain supportive medical evidence and a settlement subsequently was agreed.

The NASUWT secured £100,000 for a 55 year old member from the North West who banged his head on a concrete floor when the chair he sat on broke apart. It was later discovered that three bolts were missing from the chair. The member injured his lower back, neck and left leg as a result of the accident in September 2011. Court proceedings were initiated before a settlement was agreed with his employer.

£55,000 was secured for a member in the North East who suffered an injury to her right knee in 2010 when she tripped as a result of a tear in the lino in the science classroom where she worked. The accident occurred as a result of the hazard tape which had been used to repair the tear lifting and causing the member to catch her foot and fall. The member later underwent two operations to the knee and was diagnosed with chronic pain syndrome. Court proceedings were initiated before a settlement was agreed with her employer.

Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, said:

“If employers took the welfare of staff seriously and followed good employment and health and safety practices many of these injuries would never have occurred.

“The consequence of negligence is careers, lives and health blighted and millions of pounds of public money spent in compensation.

“Unfortunately, there is no incentive for employers to take health and welfare seriously when they witness the Government cutting funding for inspection and failing to take steps to secure compliance with the law.

“Failure to respect the rights of employees and to comply with employment law is also prevalent.

“Employers flout the law, but it’s the teachers and the taxpayers who pay the price.

“While compensation is important, it can never make up for the fact that teachers suffer permanent physical and mental injury and often cannot continue in their chosen career.”

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