The BBC has revealed that more than £150,000 in injury compensation has been paid to state school pupils in Gloucestershire in the past five years. A Freedom of Information request by BBC News showed 29 pupils were awarded payments by Gloucestershire County Council between 2008 and 2013.
The figures indicated that £58,700 was awarded to secondary and primary pupils for personal injury claims in 2011/12, £41,000 in 2012/13 and £27,000 in 2010/11 – a steady increase year on year. Seven pupils claimed compensation in each of these three academic years.
A county council spokesperson said: "Given that the figures cover a period when we insured around 80,000 pupils in Gloucestershire, the amounts involved are comparatively low. Despite that, we are still working hard with schools to cut both accidents and inappropriate compensation."
Philippa Luscombe, head of the specialist personal injury team at Penningtons Solicitors LLP, said: “Parents bringing claims for injury against schools is something that we have seen more frequently in recent years. Whilst the perception is that parents claim for incidents that are just ‘accidents’ and no one’s fault, this fails to take into account that bringing such claims is not easy. They are usually defended so claims that are going through to settlement are likely to represent situations where school staff have been negligent and injury has arisen as a result.
"These figures suggest that there are areas for improvement in school safety for the schools in Gloucestershire and this fits with what we see – claims usually arise out of failing to provide or enforce wearing of protective equipment when playing sport, errors in first aid and delays in seeking medical assistance. Often the injuries suffered can be severe. It is hoped that where some of these claims arise out of similar circumstances, the council will take steps to minimise the risks of such injuries occurring again.”