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Health and Safety Proper risk assessments not taking place in schools, teaching unions warn as compensation payouts soar

COMPENSATION to teachers who suffer injuries on school property has soared, with one education worker awarded almost £250,000 after falling while putting up a classroom display.

The payout was among cases of education workers awarded settlements for accidents and assaults on school property in a study published today by teaching unions, which warn that enough hasn't been done to carry out formal risk assessments or put in place proper safety regulations.

The teacher in East England lost her balance and fell while climbing on a table and chair to put up a display by her class.

She sustained a fracture, which aggravated the symptoms of her foot fibromyalgia, and depression, according to her union the National Union of Teachers (NUT) section of the National Education Union (NEU).

The injuries prevented the teacher from working and her contract was terminated. A case was brought against the local authority for failing to provide proper work equipment.

A teacher from the Midlands also received £250,000 after being repeatedly verbally and physically attacked over four years, leading to worsening health and a mental breakdown.

The cases also include almost £85,000 for a teacher who slipped on black ice at her classroom door and £60,000 for another from Essex who slipped and fell on her way from a science lab on spilled food and liquid.

An academy worker received nearly £50,000 after being assaulted by a teenage girl who had been told to stop chewing gum.

The NUT said that she was punched in the stomach and sustained bruises to her hand, post-traumatic stress disorder and depression.

A trainee teacher from London was given a £35,000 settlement following claims she had been dismissed or discriminated against because of her pregnancy, according to union NASUWT.

Her working relationship with the head teacher deteriorated after she became ill during her pregnancy and was subsequently told to choose between becoming a teaching assistant, a learning support assistant or being dismissed, the union said.

NASUWT general secretary Chris Keates warned that the union is seeing a significant increase in members from groups with characteristics protected by law, such as age, disability and race, being subjected to discriminatory treatment.

She added: “The scale of discrimination and prejudice is deeply disturbing and it is likely that this is only the tip of the iceberg.”

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