More than £100,000 in payouts for three teachers attacked by pupils

Flanagan Larry EIS

EIS General Secretary Larry Flanagan brought the cases to the GTC.

By Democrat reporter

Three teachers who were assaulted by pupils were awarded more than £100,000 compensation between them, according to Scotland’s largest teachers union.

The EIS says one of the victims received £55,000 after suffering serious injuries.

The figures were contained in the union’s annual roundup of compensation secured for its members.

The Scottish government said it had backed a number of programmes to tackle the issue.

Most of the payouts followed accidents such as slips, trips and falls which happened at work.

Overall, the EIS said it had secured more than £290,000 for victims of workplace injuries over the past year.

This is significantly more than in 2018 but well down on the figure for 2017, when more than £450,000 was paid out in compensation to injured teachers.

The biggest payout – worth £140,000 – was made to someone who was seriously injured in an accidental fall.

A total of £105,000 of compensation was split between three teachers who were assaulted by pupils in separate incidents:

  • A payout of £55,000 involved a case were a pupil had shouted obscenities towards a teacher then violently assaulted them. The teacher suffered serious injuries as a result
  • A teacher who was injured in an altercation with a pupil and suffered distress received £30,000 in compensation
  • And a teacher diagnosed with concussion who was signed off work received £20,000. A pupil had assaulted the teacher, pulled their hair and headbutted them repeatedly

One person who tripped on cables and fractured their knee received £9,000.

‘More severe than in the past’

EIS General Secretary Larry Flanagan said: “It is cold comfort reporting on the amounts of injury compensation that the EIS has secured for its members over the course of the year.

“Whilst the sums involved represent success for the EIS in pursuing appropriate compensation for injuries suffered at work, our desire is to eventually report a zero figure for compensation in the future owing to the elimination of these types of work-related injuries.”

He added: “The most common cause of injuries remains ‘slips, trips and falls’. These types of incidents are entirely avoidable with correct adherence to appropriate health and safety procedures in the workplace.”

Mr Flanagan said the union would resist any attempts to relax health and safety laws after Britain leaves the EU.

On the issue of violence against teachers, he said: “I wouldn’t say the problem is getting worse. I think where incidents do occur sometimes they are more severe than they were in the past.

“But the fact that we have these at all is indicative of the concerns across the country about the number of violent incidents in our schools.”

A Scottish government spokesman said: “No teacher should have to suffer verbal or physical abuse in the workplace and we want all pupils to behave in a respectful manner towards their peers and staff.

“We are supporting a number of programmes to promote positive relationships and tackle indiscipline, abuse and violence.

“This includes good behaviour management, restorative approaches and programmes to help develop social, emotional and behavioural skills.”

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