Teachers in Scotland received £167,685 in compensation claims for assaults and other injuries at school in 2021.
The largest pay out went to a teacher who was awarded £38,777 after they suffered “serious” injuries after being assaulted in class.
The settlements came from 18 workplace compensation claims according to the Educational Institute of Scotland, the country’s largest teachers’ union.
This year’s total is a sharp decline from the almost £700,000 that teachers received in last year from compensation settlements.
Typically, a decrease in compensation means fewer claims. But the 18 settlements this year is more than any of the last four years.
EIS representatives said they could not provide any more information on where the incidents occurred.
Assaults on teachers still an issue in Scotland
“Slips, trips and falls” were the most commonly-settled complaints this year. But there were an additional five claims linked to assaults by pupils. Another teacher was injured while trying to restrain a pupil.
The five assault compensation claims totalled £57,997, including one for £38,777.
EIS general secretary Larry Flanagan called it sad that teachers still face problems with assaults at work. Schools and the police need to continue to intervene when appropriate, he added.
“Teaching professionals should have the right to expect a safe working place, and to be properly supported by their employers where issues related to their safety do arise.”
Last year, the EIS helped four members settle assault claims for a total of £345,000, including one for £200,000.
Accidents could be ‘entirely avoidable’
Accidents like slips and falls are still the most common reason for injuries to teachers.
One teacher received £30,000 for suffering a serious injury while teaching class.
Mr Flanagan went on to say that these types of incidents should be avoidable.
Because many teachers continue to feel uneasy at work because of the Covid-19 pandemic, he called on employers to prioritise teacher safety and mental health.
“These types of incidents are entirely avoidable with correct adherence to appropriate health and safety procedures in the workplace. It is essential that the relevant employers take all possible precautions to ensure that all facilities are as safe as possible for staff and for students.
“All employers have a duty of care to provide a safe working environment for their employees in order to protect both their physical and mental health.
“This means having robust mitigations in place – such as regular risk-assessment of schools, enhanced cleaning regimes, and adequate ventilation of classroom space – to seek to ensure a safe and secure environment for learning and teaching.”