Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Pounds 200,000 Paid to Pupils after Slips and Trips; Cost of Payouts on School Accidents Revealed

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Pounds 200,000 Paid to Pupils after Slips and Trips; Cost of Payouts on School Accidents Revealed

Article excerpt

Byline: TOM MULLEN

PUPILS have pocketed more than pounds 200,000 for minor school accidents including tripping over and falling off a climbing frame.

Children across the North East have been given the payouts by councils for minor mishaps.

They are being paid sums between pounds 50 and pounds 23,000 each time for the accidents, that would once upon a time have been put down to bad luck.

More than pounds 80,000 has also been paid to 12 teachers for slips and trips, while one was for stress.

A school in Newcastle paid a pupil pounds 6,075 for slipping on the stairs while another was given pounds 11,534 after being hit in the face with a bat. Two others were handed pounds 6,200 and pounds 11,500 for falling off a climbing frame and slipping on a floor.

In Northumberland a pupil got pounds 7,086 for cutting a foot on a tile, and in North Tyneside a pupil was given pounds 2,500 after a rope swing snapped.

In Gateshead, a child was paid pounds 5,000 after falling from play equipment and another received pounds 4,900 after he "wandered off due to lack of supervision."

Schools in Durham made payments "between pounds 6,644 and pounds 23,579" to five pupils and five teachers, but the county council did not provide specific details of the reasons why. Today details of the payouts, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act for the last two years, have been criticised, with one legal expert claiming compensation culture is getting worse.

Richard Mullender, reader in law at Newcastle University, said: "What we are seeing is an increased propensity to sue.

"More and more people are being encouraged to 'have a go.' "This is being encouraged in part due to the slogans we hear these days. Things like 'where there's blame, there's a claim.' "And then you have public bodies, with deep pockets, who are more likely to settle up rather than pursue a lengthy court case. …

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