Teacher wins £7,800 payout for 'stretching' injuries as figures reveal how compensation culture is blighting schools

A teacher has been awarded £7,800 for injuries sustained while 'stretching', according to disclosures that highlight the compensation culture in British schools.

A Welsh local authority was forced to make the payout after the unnamed teacher was hurt while trying to reach equipment in the classroom.

In another incident, a teacher was handed £17,568 after falling over in a lesson while a secondary pupil won £10,483 after falling over on school grounds.

The payouts, which have come to light following a request under the Freedom of Information Act, have been criticised as wasting taxpayer money that should have been spent on education.

Teacher writing on blackboard

'Easy money': Compensation payouts at schools have been criticised as wasting taxpayer money that should have been spent on education

Matthew Sinclair, of the TaxPayers' Alliance, slammed the 'easy money' compensation.

He said: 'Taxpayers will be outraged to see so much of their money going to dodgy compensation claims in their schools.

'Too many of these claims are dubious injuries that have nothing to do with any kind of real fault at the hands of the school.

'More need to be done to change this free-cash culture. Taxpayers's money can't go on being wasted this way when times are tough.'

The figures show that in the last five years, schools across North Wales have been forced to pay out £225,000 to pay for injury claims.

One teacher won £17,568 after falling over in a lesson, while dozens of pupils have been awarded cash for tripping on school premises.

One pupil won thousands of pounds when his shoes lost their grip and he slipped down a damp grass bank.

Conservative North Wales Assembly member Mark Isherwood, shadow minister for social justice, equality and housing, said the amount of money being paid out was a 'real concern'.

He said: 'At first reading these figures are worrying. Whatever the actual situation, councils must learn from the good practice of the best in order to minimise injuries and maximise efficient use of resources.'

The Freedom of Information disclosures reveal that every local authority in North Wales except Gwynedd has had to make a compensation payment.

In 2007, a parent at Bodnant School in Prestatyn received £3,500 after tripping over.

At Ysgol y Castell in Rhuddlan in 2006, a pupil was awarded £3,081 after falling in a pothole, while at St Asaph's Ysgol Glan Clwyd a teacher received £2,000 for the same type of incident in 2004.

Another pupil to have claimed damages at Ysgol Dewi Sant, Rhyl in 2004 was given £2,500 for injuring themselves while using 'defective equipment'.

A Flintshire County Council spokesman said: 'In 2007/8, the incidents happened at high schools and were slips, trips and spills, including a slip on a grass bank and into a drain.

'The previous year they happened at a range of schools, including primary and high school slips, trips and spills on cobble stones, kitchen and dining room floors, and equipment falling onto a person.

'The amount released is the amount paid in total for each year including claimant's legal costs and, where appropriate, our own defence costs.'

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