Teachers Given £290,000 Compensation

6 January 2016, 07:19 | Updated: 6 January 2016, 07:20

More than £290,000 has been paid out in compensation to teachers and lecturers who have been hurt at work in the last year.

New figures released by the Educational Institute of Scotland detail payments to members who suffered slips, trips or assaults in the workplace.

The highest award of £150,000 was given to a union member who fell on black ice in a school car park and suffered a displaced pelvis and other injuries.

Another member who was hurt and suffered post-traumatic stress and anxiety after struggling with a pupil was given £3,009.

Compensation of £17,250 was paid out to another member who was briefly knocked unconscious after slipping and falling in a school corridor.

A payout of £12,000 was made to a staff member who broke a wrist after falling on snow and ice in a school car park, while another who was injured when they caught their foot in a pothole in the dark was given £7,050.

EIS general secretary Larry Flanagan said: "This year, the amount of compensation that the EIS has achieved for members has risen from the previous year's figures.

"At a time when employers are expressing concern at the costs of sickness absence it is ironic that failure to provide teachers and lecturers a safe place of work has led to significant legal challenge.

"Teachers and lecturers are entitled to safe workplaces and the evidence over this year is a worrying testimony to a lack of diligence by employers.''

He added: "Compensation payments are based on strict guidelines and are designed to compensate members for actual loss, including pain and suffering, loss of earnings and future losses.

"These damages should never be viewed as some kind of windfall for injured members. Every case is calculated to the penny with the sole aim of putting members back to the position they were in before they were injured through no fault of their own.''

Councillor Stephanie Primrose, the education, children and young people spokeswoman for local government body Cosla, said: "Larry Flanagan's comments about teachers not having a safe environment in which to work are nothing short of disgraceful and he should be embarrassed by them.

"The bottom line is that teaching is a very safe profession, and local authorities take extremely serious the safety and wellbeing of all staff and indeed pupils.

"There are over 50,000 teachers and over 700,000 pupils in school and pre-school so accidents or incidents will occasionally take place.

"Serious incidents are rare but parents and teachers should be assured that authorities and schools have in place policies to deal with situations that may arise. To suggest otherwise really is opportunistic in the extreme.''