Is your child safe at school?

A recent article in a Health and Safety publication has highlighted the number of injuries that are occurring in our schools.

Hundreds of children have been seriously injured at school, leading to compensation payments of more than £3.3 million over the past five years, according to figures from three of England’s biggest cities.

Many of the injuries have been caused by unsafe classroom and PE equipment and include fractured bones and severed fingers.

The statistics, obtained by consulting firm the Employment Law Advisory Service (ELAS) through a Freedom of Information request, show that 1980 personal injury claims have been lodged with local authorities (LAs) across Greater London, Birmingham and Greater Manchester since September 2008. Of these, 444 were successful.

In London’s 33 boroughs, more than £1.6 million has been paid out, while in Greater Manchester the figure is more than £1.5 million and Birmingham City Council reported just under £190,000. Only London’s Croydon Council failed to provide any information.

“Health and safety is not being managed properly in the education sector,” said Wayne Dunning, ELAS’ lead health and safety consultant, “and this is costing taxpayers millions, not only in direct compensation, but also additional hidden costs from administration.

“It’s clear from the nature of the accidents that many areas are being overlooked by school managers and teachers, not through any fault of their own, but because they haven’t received the necessary training required to identify the potential risks and hazards that may prevent an accident from happening in the first place.”

Joanne du Plessis, partner at Shires Law and a mum with a child at school states: “This is clearly a concern and one that needs to be addressed by schools. Very often we see client’s whose children have suffered injuries that are entirely preventable. Hopefully by creating awareness of the cost of these injuries more will be done to prevent them happening in the first place.”