by Jon Dean
Thursday, January 23, 2014
Parents seeking £234,000 in damages for injuries to pupils in Islington schools
More than £230,000 in compensation could be paid to parents whose children have been hurt in Islington’s schools – the highest of any borough in London.
A total of £234,388 – excluding legal fees – has been sought by mothers and fathers with children who have been injured, with the highest single payout being £28,000.
Of the 34 claims made, 10 have been settled and resulted in payouts totalling almost £147,000, while a further six, which amount to just under £113,000, are awaiting judgement. The rest have been rejected.
Since September 2008, Islington Council may end up paying £90,000 more than the second highest figure – Enfield – according to a Freedom of Information request by the Employment and Law Advisory Service (ELAS) which has been seen by the Gazette.
Islington refused to disclose the reasons for the claims, although in other boroughs damages were awarded for incidents when a pupil’s finger tip was severed by a door, after one stepped on a nail and another fell from a climbing frame.
Wayne Dunning, ELAS’s lead health and safety consultant, said: “These figures are shocking and clearly not enough is being done to protect children in schools from what are, in the main, preventable accidents.”
He added: “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.”
ELAS reports that throughout London’s 33 boroughs, more than £1.5million has been paid out by councils following accidents at schools involving youngsters.
Cllr Joe Caluori, Islington Council’s executive member for children and young people, said: “We take health and safety in Islington schools very seriously.
“Schools work hard to make their environments safe, with advice and help from the council where necessary.
“We will continue to work to make Islington schools even safer.”