School injuries cost Humber authorities £1.1m in payouts

Councils across East Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire have paid out in excess of £1.1million in compensation and legal fees for injuries at schools, according to a BBC Freedom of Information request.

The figures, which cover 2009-2014, reveal that during the period 27 claims cost East Riding of Yorkshire Council £600,533 in payouts and fees. In North Lincolnshire, six claims came in at £239,100 while 10 claims in Hull cost the city council £187,974.

Kevin Rowlands, principal of the Oasis Academy in Immingham, told the BBC that some parents were encouraged to claim by solicitors.

“There is an opportunist approach to claims perhaps where there’s been an injury in sport,” said Mr Rowlands.

“Parents who have been accepting that accidents do happen, they’ve been encouraged to pursue a claim and to try to look into a blame culture.”

In Hull, £7,750 was paid out after a large object fell onto a student’s leg breaking bones in the process. The council settled an additional £39,846.90 in legal fees and medical costs.

“Compensation culture”

Chris McGovern, chair of the Campaign for Real Education, said the “compensation culture” was impacting school activities.

Mr McGovern stated: “Schools are wrapping children up in cotton wool because they are fearful of this compensation culture.

“Teachers are diligent but they are thinking there’s so much bureaucracy and form-filling and the threat of compensation claims, that maybe we shouldn’t even bother with things like school trips.”

School compensation claims, he suggested. were becoming more common. “There is a compensation culture out there and it is having damaging consequences for the children.”

Mark Robinson, head of personal injury and a partner at Grimsby-based Wilkin Chapman Grange Solicitors, said school injury claims remained rare but that the accidents could be serious in nature.

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