TEACHERS in Scotland claimed more than half a million pounds in compensation in 2023 as a result of violence in schools.

New data from the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS), Scotland’s largest teaching union, found £541,499 was paid out to the union’s members in personal injury claims in 2023.

The union’s general secretary, Andrea Bradley (below), said the rise in violent incidents was “worrying”, and urged the Scottish Government and local authorities to take “urgent action” to ensure teachers can work without fear of assault or injury.

The National:

The 2023 sum for personal injury claims is an 83% increase from the previous year, when £245,902 was paid out to teachers.

The largest settlement saw a teacher compensated £180,000 after a school assault left them with a serious injury.

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There were five assault claims in total, with a teacher who was assaulted on three separate occasions awarded £28,469.

A teacher punched in the face by a pupil, resulting in a hairline fracture to the jaw, was paid £6020, while another teacher who was headbutted causing damage to the teeth, received £4500.

Another teacher was paid £1500 after they were assaulted trying to break up a fight between pupils. The union said the staff member sustained a laceration to the temple which needed stitches.

The other seven claims were a result of accident and health claims, including £135,000 for a member who broke their ankle in two places and £100,000 for a slip on a wet floor.

Bradley said pursuing compensation was never a “pleasant task”, but that the EIS would always “give its all” on behalf of its members.

She continued: “No one deserves to suffer injury or assault in their workplace, which is why local authorities – as the employers of teachers – have a legal duty of care to ensure a safe working environment for all school staff.

“Local authorities and the Scottish Government must take urgent action to make our schools properly safe, and to ensure that all staff and pupils can work without fear of assault or injury.”

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The EIS also called for additional resources, including additional staffing, to support pupils who are likely to exhibit distressed or violent behaviour.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “Scotland’s schools should be safe learning environments for all – violence and abusive behaviour towards pupils or staff is completely unacceptable.

“The Education Secretary has been clear that more needs to be done to address incidents of behaviour, which is why the Scottish Government is bringing forward a National Action Plan – this will set out a range of actions needed at both local and national level.

“We are committed to working with trade union partners on the development of this plan.

“On safety more widely, local authorities have a statutory responsibility to protect pupils and teachers. Where a local authority does not comply with health and safety legislation, it is for the Health and Safety Executive to determine what enforcement action is appropriate and proportional to the health and safety risk.”