Huge payouts for injuries at schools in Suffolk

NEARLY half a million pounds in compensation has been paid out by Suffolk schools over the past three years, figures have revealed.

The largest personal injury payout was given to a student at a school in Sudbury, who was awarded more than �150,000.

Overall compensation payouts given to staff, pupils and members of the public following incidents in schools amount to �407,042 since 2007.

The highest amount paid to a teacher was �34,220, with another getting more than �8,000 after contracting a rash.

The table of compensation payments was released by Suffolk County Council after a request under the Freedom of Information Act. They were unable to give detail of each individual claim and the injuries suffered.

Among the highest payouts were �54,504 paid to a member of the public who was injured on the grounds of a Bury St Edmunds School and �15,279 paid to a student who had suffered a broken bone while at school.

It is believed that the compensation is covered through indemnity insurance, however an excess payment would have been paid for each of the incidents.

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In June 2010, more than �7,000 was paid to a student at an Ipswich school who had suffered cuts.

A total of 25 claims were successfully pursues against schools run by the council in the three year time frame, with the smallest payout being just �43 to a member of staff at a Thetford-based school.

Eleven payments were made to employees injured at schools for a number of reasons including sprains, rashes, whiplash and broken bones.

Graham Newman, portfolio holder for children and young people's service, said that all of the incidents were 'most unfortunate'.

He added: 'Quite apart from the health and safety checks that all staff will make routinely, governing bodies should also make periodic checks; and many will have this written into their school's procedures.

'But at the end of the day health & safety is everybody's responsibility. Whenever a student, staff member, parent or member of the public spots a hazard in or around a school, we do ask they report it to somebody in authority as soon as they can, however trivial it may seem'

The facts:

Schools in Bury St Edmunds paid out �70,183

Schools in Ipswich paid out �49,939

Schools in Lowestoft paid out �43,095

Schools in Debenham paid our �33,971

Schools in Felixstowe paid out �14,801

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