Hundreds of pupils who hurt themselves in everyday accidents have sued their local council, claiming that it should have taken better care of them. Payouts have soared by almost 50% as the compensation culture enters the classroom.
Last year councils spent more than £3 million paying compensation, up from £2.4 million in 2011, the Daily Mail reports. Payouts included:
- £26,000 for a pupil who was hurt putting away a trampoline
- £14,329 to a pupil who climbed a tree to retrieve a ball and fell out
- £16,000 to a pupil who slipped on wet leaves during a PE lesson and fell
- £10,000 for a child who tripped over a tree root in the playground
- £4,500 for a pupil who tripped and grazed a knee
Critics of the current system say that ambulance-chasing lawyers are fostering a culture in schools where children are molly coddled and not allowed to take the risks needed to grow up properly. Professor Frank Furedi said: “The rise of compensation claims in schools is bad news for education. The problem is not simply a financial one. Concern with litigation has encouraged a culture of risk-aversion in the classroom. Its outcome is less outdoor activities, less experiments and less adventure.”
Chris Skidmore, a member of the Education Select Committee, regrets that an ambulance-chasing culture has found its way into schools: “Schools are under enough regulation and red tape without having to worry about being served a legal writ every time a child is accidentally hurt. And it is a terribly sad state of affairs when those pursuing financial gain for non-life-altering injuries are simply taking money that should be better spent on children’s education.”
Have any of your pupils sued for a minor injury? Do you agree with Professor Furedi that the record compensation payouts have encouraged risk-aversion in school?