Families get compensation after school injuries

Families win compensation after school injuries 25573

Families of children in Wales have received more than £800,000 in compensation in the last five years, new figures have revealed.

Data released to BBC Wales as part of a Freedom of Information request showed that 312 compensation claims against schools that had been made since 2008 have been successful.

The figures, released by Welsh councils, showed compensation was paid for incidents including a child running into a goalpost and receiving inadequate first aid and another where a child was splashed with hot food.

Newport is the area which has seen the highest number of claims made against schools, with 44 cases reported in the last five years. It has also spent the most in compensation at £248,131.

Rhondda Cynon Taf came second, with the local authority settling 10 cases at a cost of £189,934, while 74 claims in Cardiff have seen families win a total of £100,117 over the last five years.

Peter Maynard, a legal expert, told the BBC that it would be wrong to automatically cast these figure as evidence of a compensation culture that is out of control, adding that those who are injured as a result of another's recklessness or incompetence are entitled to adequate recompense.

"That is all I believe they should be entitled to, nothing more, nothing less. Instead, it is implied that spurious or exaggerated claims are resulting in pots of money being handed out willy-nilly," he stated.

Owen Hathway, Wales policy officer at NUT Cymru, said there are steps that schools can take to reduce the risk of children injuring themselves.

"Are councils investing in making schools fit for purpose? If you have dilapidated buildings, that is going to put children at risk of accidents," he added.

According to a recent report by health journal Hazards, backed by the TUC, the government is scaremongering people into thinking that a compensation culture exists in the UK that is out of control in a bid to justify the cutting of basic health and safety in the workplace.

By Francesa Witney