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Pounds 18m in payouts for disputes and injuries in the workplace

Teacher unions win extensive range of compensation awards for classroom staff and heads

Teachers were awarded more than Pounds 18 million in compensation in 2008 for injuries suffered at work and in employment disputes.

The total includes more than Pounds 9m awarded to NASUWT members - over Pounds 1m pounds more than in 2007. The largest out-of-court settlement won by the union was Pounds 220,000 for a teacher in Kent who suffered a permanent head injury when a box of paper fell on her while she was taking an item from a stationery cupboard.

Another teacher in Warwickshire was awarded Pounds 160,000 after he was forced to take early retirement when he slipped on icy school steps.

A payout of Pounds 149,440 was given to the widow of a teacher from Nottingham who died of mesothelioma after contact with asbestos in his classroom. As reported in The TES last month, another widow of a teacher who died of mesothelioma, in East Sussex, recently won Pounds 290,000 after her case was pursued by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL).

The NUT won Pounds 80,000 for a primary teacher in east London who was knocked down a staircase by pupils rushing in the opposite direction. The woman suffered injuries to her wrist and knee and was unable to return to teaching.

A Midlands teacher was awarded Pounds 18,000 in a personal injury claim when she fell from a cupboard she was standing on to open a window, and a PE teacher in London won Pounds 5,000 after being injured by a poorly maintained dry ski-slope while escorting a school trip.

One NUT member from the Midlands won more than Pounds 106,000 from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority after suffering injuries to her right shoulder and neck while restraining an autistic child.

The NASUWT said pursuing criminal injuries cases was "extremely difficult", but it had won more than Pounds 89,000 after a serious assault by a pupil left a teacher blind in one eye.

The ATL won more than Pounds 4m for members in compromise agreements for staff agreeing to leave their jobs.

The Association of School and College Leaders won more than Pounds 4.3m in compensation, with rising numbers of secondary heads being forced from jobs under pressure to deliver results. The biggest single payout was about Pounds 100,000.

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