Teacher awarded record compensation for work-related stress

A Scottish teacher won a six-figure sum in compensation for work-related stress last year, newly released data has shown.

According to the report from the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS), the undisclosed award – estimated by The Scotsman newspaper to be in the region of £250,000 – is the largest amount ever to be won by one of its members. The case is understood to have centred on the teacher’s workload.

In 2011, the union said its members received a total of £650,000 in compensation for accidents at work and work-related injuries – also a record. Amongst the compensation payouts were awards for teachers who had been assaulted by pupils. One teacher, for example, was kicked in the face by a student. However, the compensation was mainly paid out for work accidents such as slips, trips and falls.

The union said that the accident compensation payouts send a message about improvements that need to be made in schools. Ronnie Smith, EIS General Secretary, commented, "The growth in the number of cases involving psychiatric injury and stress-related illness must be a warning to employers that they need to take account of their employees’ mental, as well as physical, wellbeing."

He added a reminder that local authorities and other schools have the same duty of care to staff as any other employer.