£230k payout for teacher who slipped on ketchup

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Tomato ketchup

Essex County Council has paid out an incredible £1 million in compensation to injured teachers. In one instance it paid £230,000 to a teacher who slipped on a spilled sachet of ketchup

And this is far from the only unusual compensation claim made by a teacher.


The Daily Telegraph came across the claims after making a Freedom of Information request to the council. Apparently the teacher slipped on his way to the staffroom in an incident in March 2008, and he made the claim for damages three years later (eight days before the three year deadline for personal injury claims expired). The school estimated that the cost of the claim could be as much as £500,000 if it went to court, so it settled for £90,000 in damages, £120,000 in legal fees and £20,000 in costs.

This wasn't the only claim seen by the council. The newspaper reported that it also paid out £110,000 to a staff member who slipped on a wet floor twice in the same day, and another who was paid £40,000 after damaging their wrist when a faulty metal door swung open.

The council defended the payments as being taken out of context, but the Daily Mail reported a spokesperson from the TaxPayer's Alliance who decried the compensation culture in schools adding: "Wasting taxpayers' money on unnecessary payouts leaves less money available for teaching and higher tax bills for everyone else."

Odd claims

There has certainly been no shortage of unusual claims made by teachers. There are odd slips and trips which cost a fortune. A teacher at Backwell School, in North Somerset, won £17,000 in compensation after she managed to avoid stepping on a piece of ham on the floor in the dinner hall, but in the process slipped on 'something gooey'.

One teacher received £45,000 after falling from a desk while putting up a classroom display.

Then there was the South Gloucestershire teacher who tripped over a football net. In the end he received a little over £600 in compensation. However, because the school was considered partly to blame, it had to pay the court costs of a case that had rumbled on for eight years. The total cost was more than £82,000.

A teacher in Hounslow, West London, received £56,000 for facial injuries after being hit in the face with a set of maracas.

And there was a teacher from Northern Ireland, who slipped on a patch of moss, broke her leg in two places and dislocated her ankle. She was awarded £66,291.

But let's us not forget that it's sometimes the students that cause the problems in the first place.

The Essex figures showed record of a teacher who was punched in the face by a pupil and received £4,400.

In 2012, a 45-year-old school worker in the north-east stepped in to help a colleague who was being attacked by a pupil. He was kicked and attacked from behind by another student: his total award was for almost £270,000.

Then there was the teacher who was awarded £382,930 after a student slammed his arm in a metal filing cabinet while trying to grab a confiscated football: his injuries meant he could no longer work.

And the pupils are keen to grab their slice of the payouts too. Payouts to Welsh pupils in the past five years have included £10,500 for a pupil who was pushed into a window, £1,000 for a child splashed with hot food, and a payout for a child who ran into a goalpost.