£33,000 injuries payout in Doncaster schools

NEWS: News.
NEWS: News.

Pupils have received nearly £33,000 in compensation for injuries suffered in Doncaster schools, it has been revealed.

The highest of nine payouts over the past five years was more than £7,000 and one child got £1,250 for slipping on ice.

A further 67 personal injury claims were rejected by Doncaster Council’s insurers.

Employment Law Advisory Service, a firm specialising in business support services, says more needs to be invested in staff training.

They say children have been seriously injured while at schools in Yorkshire due to ‘basic health and safety failings’, costing taxpayers more than £1.3 million in compensation over the past five years.

The figures reveal 11 out of 15 of Yorkshire’s education authorities recorded 171 successful personal injuries claims against schools since September 2008, more than across the whole of Greater London.

In Doncaster the successful claims ranged from £500 for ‘spillage’ to £7,315 for an accident.

The other seven payouts were: £1,250 for ice/snow, sums of £2,250, £2,250, £2,500, £4,500 and £6,000 for defective premises or equipment, and one of £6,314 for inadequate supervision of a child.

Precise details of the injuries or ages of the children were not disclosed in the FoI response, and it did not include incidents at academy schools in Doncaster, which are not the responsibility of Doncaster Council.

Jo Moxon, Doncaster’s assistant director of education, said: “Doncaster Council offers a wide range of training courses for schools including health and safety for head teachers, how to complete risk assessments and control of substances hazardous to health. We also carry out school safety audits.

“The success of our approach is reflected in the very small number of successful claims and relatively modest sums paid out in comparison to other local authorities.

“Unfortunately accidents do happen, but I would like to emphasise our commitment as an authority to keeping children and young people safe, both in and out of school.”

The figures surprised shoppers in Doncaster town centre yesterday.

“I’m not happy about it at all, I’d rather the money be spent elsewhere,” said John Lindley.

Derren Clarke added: “Just for nine successful claims, that’s a lot of money.”

ELAS’ lead health and safety consultant Wayne Dunning said: “It’s clear from the nature of the accidents that many areas are being overlooked by school managers and teachers, not through any fault of their own, but because they haven’t received the necessary training required to identify the potential risks and hazards that may prevent an accident from happening in the first place.

“These are quite basic Health and Safety failings and the government needs to invest more in training, so that accidents that put children in danger are avoided.”

Rotherham paid out the highest amount in compensation, costing local authority coffers a staggering £289,851.

Incidents of note in Yorkshire included fractured bones, while one child was scalded by hot liquid and another suffered an electric shock while using a soldering iron. Many injuries resulted from unsafe classroom, playground and PE equipment.