REVEALED: Almost £100,000 of compensation paid out by Sheffield schools in last three years

A settlement fee of 40,000 of damages paid to an individual who suffered from stress accounted for more than 42 per cent of the total paid out by Sheffield schools
A settlement fee of 40,000 of damages paid to an individual who suffered from stress accounted for more than 42 per cent of the total paid out by Sheffield schools
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Almost £100,000 has been paid out to Sheffield teachers and pupils in compensation for stress and injuries in the classroom in the last three years.

Figures obtained by The Star through a Freedom of Information request reveal that 82 personal injury claims have been made for incidents at 62 schools since August 2013.

Successful claims made include when an individual was paid £1,850 in damages after breaking a bone as a result of a pothole on the school site.

Another expensive fall was when a claimant received £3,200 for a soft tissue injury sustained after they slipped over on ice.

One individual received £5,346 for injuries sustained during an assault at a school.

Four out of the 13 cases where damages were paid involved defective machinery or equipment, including in one instance where a claimant received £13,025.

Theft was another claim made where damages had to be paid out.

After an individual complained of personal property being stolen a settlement fee of £80 was agreed.

These cases have the combined effect of Sheffield City Council, the education authority for many schools in the city, paying out a total of £94,753.18 in damages in the last three years.

A settlement fee of £40,000 of damages paid to an individual who suffered from stress accounted for more than 42 per cent of this total.

Simon Murch from the Sheffield office for the National Union of Teachers (NUT) said that stress is ‘a big problem in schools’.

“We have had lots of teachers who leave the profession because of stress. It’s an increasing problem.”

Mr Murch said that audits carried out by the NUT show that the majority of stress for teachers is ‘caused by paperwork’.

Administrative tasks such as marking pupils' work often mean actual teaching time is restricted.

Mr Murch added that the management within schools can sometimes work as a buffer from stress, but not always.

“Teachers are at breaking point a lot of the time with constant pressure from above.”

“Obviously there are behaviour issues in some schools as well, but a lot of it is to do with bureaucracy. That doesn’t help anyone.”

Mr Murch said the root of the problem lay with recent governments' frequent changes to education policies and targets.

“They just need to stop changing things all the time and just allow teachers to teach.”

The council was unwilling to add further details about any lawsuits due to concerns that doing so would identify the individuals involved.