New research has found that Sheffield schools have paid out £2.2 million in compensation to staff and pupils over the last five years, with one school paying out £155, 274 in compensation.
The compensation claims include a £54,000 payout awarded to a member of staff who suffered a slip at a Sheffield school and a £37,000 sum for two teachers who were hit by the same falling object.
Some of the larger compensation amounts include a £146,000 claim paid out to a pupil affected by a fire and a claim totaling £530,000 for a member of staff who suffered personal injuries as a result of a trip.
Ecclesfield school has the worst compensation claim history, paying out a total of £155, 274 in 10 claims across the past five years.
City School was shortly behind the school with £116,807 being paid in nine claims followed by Gleadless Primary School with their compensation claims rising to £61,481.
Jonathan Isaby, chief executive at the Taxpayers Alliance, suggests that taxpayers will be disappointed with the compensation payouts.
“This is a remarkable sum and taxpayers will be stunned. One of two things is happening – either the council isn’t providing a safe space, or they are paying out too quickly on spurious claims. Either way, taxpayers are stuck with the bill and at a time of necessary financial restraint, the council must figure out a way to bring the total down so that taxes can be used for essential services rather than picking up the legal pieces.”, he added.
However Sheffield Council disagrees, as the money does not come out of school budgets but instead comes out of the school’s insurance cover.
A spokesperson for Sheffield Council said: “Let’s be clear here – the money is ultimately paid out by the schools and not the council as all Sheffield schools buy back an insurance service from the council.
“The council does not subsidise the cost of school insurance or compensation claims. Our insurance team thoroughly investigates each and every claim and robustly defends them where appropriate. As a result payments are not made in two-thirds of cases.”
Sheffield Council also stressed that their schools are safe.
“We would also refute any allegation claiming our schools are unsafe as a recent independent audit of safety in our schools identified that our schools are safe and risks are well managed.”
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