A news report on the BBC has revealed that claims for childrens injuries at school cost councils in Wales more than £800,000 between 2008 and 2013.
According to the report – compiled under a Freedom of Information request – 312 claims for childrens injuries at school were made in the five-year period; mostly following minor accidents such as slips and trips, or injuries caused by defective school equipment, but some related to serious head injuries and resulted in compensation settlements in excess of £10,000.
The highest number of claims for childrens injuries at school was made in Cardiff, where the local education authority had seventy-four successful claims made against them, but the highest individual value claims were settled in Newport (£248,131 over 44 claims) and in Rhondda Cynon Taf, where the average value of successful claims for childrens injuries at school was £18,993.
Speaking about the high volume of claims, a spokesman for the local education authorities in Wales said that parents were encouraged into making claims by the presence of “No Win, No Fee” solicitors, however Owen Hathway – Policy Officer for the teacher´s union NUT Cymru – argued that if local councils in Wales invested more money to make schools safe for children, there would not be so many preventable accidents.
One of the mothers of a child injured in an accident at school also appeared in the BBC report. She told reporters how her son – Isaac Bingham from Shotton in Flintshire – received an eye injury when a defective school gate swung back and hit him in the face. Mrs Bingham told reporters that she made a compensation claim in order to have the school fix the hazard so that no other children would be hurt by the gate.
UK Claims Solicitors Footnote: The £1,800 settlement of compensation for childrens injuries at school awarded to Isaac was first approved by a judge – as all compensation settlements for injuries to children are – and then placed into a trust where it will remain until Isaac is eighteen years of age.