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£400,000 paid out to Cumbria's stressed teachers

More than £520,000 in compensation and legal costs has been paid out for stressed and injured school staff and pupils.

Challenge notions: Alan Rutter of the NUT

Workers got the lion’s share – around £400,000 of the total, with more than £111,000 of that figure paid out for stress linked to bullying or harassment, figures obtained by the News & Star reveal.

One teachers’ leader in north Cumbria says that the figures are a clear indication of the increasing levels of stress faced by teachers and other school staff.

The figures, revealed by Cumbria County Council after a request was made under the Freedom of Information Act, summarise the compensation and legal costs paid by the authority between April 2009 and March of last year.

The payouts for pupils show that £121,000 was spent on a range of claims, the biggest single category being payments linked to injuries blamed on a lack of supervision by school staff.

Most of the remaining costs, around £60,000, relate to injuries that are put down to “defective premises”.

Staff compensation and legal costs also cover a wide range of injury types – but the biggest category by far is the one for claims arising from bullying and harassment causing stress, the figures show.

The next biggest cost – just over £90,000, arises from trips and falls, followed by injuries sustained while staff have been lifting or moving objects in schools.

Nearly £11,000 in compensation and legal costs was paid to staff who suffered a head injury after colliding with an object in a school.

Alan Rutter, secretary of the Cumbria branch of the National Union of Teachers, said the figures for school staff, including teachers, came as no surprise.

He said: “Given the massive stress and workloads that teachers now face, I’m not at all surprised. And these are just the ones who got compensation.

“It’s probably the tip of an iceberg.

“Heads too are under massive pressure because if an Ofsted goes badly its their head that rolls. The recent blitz of Ofsted inspections in the autumn was an example of the stress they face.

“And heads are the people who often have to give unpalatable messages to teachers, telling them that they’ve got to do things in a certain way whether they think it’s professionally right or wrong.

“And now we have so much Government interference.”

Education Secretary Michael Gove says the government is pursuing a “comprehensive programme” to improve teaching, including scholarships to attract the best graduates, higher literacy and numeracy requirements for trainee teachers and a network of ‘Teaching Schools’ across the country.

Have your say

The pressure teachers are under these days, I'm surprised this isn't higher.
£400k across approx 310 schools in Cumbria in 3 years. That is about £400 per school a year.

Posted by Bob on 26 February 2014 at 14:27

Why become a teacher if you cant handle pressure?

Posted by longshanks on 26 February 2014 at 12:33

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