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The NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union secured compensation of £14,815,251.03 for members during 2021. 

The compensation was awarded for successful claims relating to unfair dismissal, redundancy, discrimination, trade union-related detriment, performance management, bullying, contractual disputes, health and safety, unlawful deductions from wages and personal injury.

The figures are being released on the eve of the NASUWT’s Annual Conference, which is being held over the Easter weekend in Birmingham. 

The Union secured a settlement of £850,000 for a member who is unlikely to ever be able to return to teaching after being seriously assaulted by a pupil.

He was punched in the face and kicked by the pupil during a science lesson at his school in London. At the time of the incident in January 2017 the pupil was not supposed to be attending the members’ lessons due to previous disruptive and violent behaviour. 

The member sustained numerous physical and psychological injuries as a result of the attack, including a head injury, tinnitus, hearing loss, bruising and back and ankle injuries, as well as PTSD and severe depressive disorder.

He has been unable to work since the attack and medical experts have concluded the impact of his injuries means he is unlikely to ever be able to return to working as a teacher.

The NASUWT brought a personal injury claim on behalf of the member and the settlement reflected the impact of the assault and the loss of income.  

£79,853.17 was secured for a drama teacher from Wales who was dismissed from her job after developing life-threatening asthma. 

She developed late-onset asthma following the refurbishment of her classroom in 2013. After the refurbishment there were a number of problems with her classroom, including the development of mould on classroom walls and a crack in the floor. 

As the term progressed, the member noticed that she increasingly suffered from the same repeated symptoms (headaches, runny nose, rhinitis, coughing, wheezing) whilst teaching. The symptoms worsened as the term progressed and as the weather got colder and wetter. The member eventually suffered an asthma attack at school and was taken to hospital in an ambulance. She received a diagnosis of late onset asthma. The consultant believed her condition was likely caused by her working conditions. 

She suffered repeated sudden on-set asthma attacks and acute respiratory difficulties at school which on several occasions resulted in paramedics being called or her admission to hospital.

The asthma and an unrelated scheduled operation in late 2018 led to unavoidable absences from work, but by the time in 2019 that she was informed she was being dismissed her asthma was under control as a result of adjustments to her working conditions secured as a result of union representations.  

The Union succeeded in bringing claims for unfair dismissal and disability discrimination. 

Dr Patrick Roach, General Secretary of the NASUWT, said:

“While compensation is recognition of the personal, and in some cases, financial loss that members have suffered, it can never make up for the impact which unfair treatment, discrimination and physical injuries have on individuals.

“The money awarded cannot compensate for the emotional, physical and mental distress members have experienced and the fact that for some, their experiences have left them unable to continue working in teaching. 

“Furthermore, these cases are only likely to represent the tip of the iceberg. There is no doubt that many other teachers will have been driven out of the profession without proper redress for poor, discriminatory or unfair treatment because they were too fearful to come forward or believed nothing could be done.

“Too many employers believe they can act with impunity as the Government fails to take any action to secure compliance with employment law or health and safety legislation, allowing poor employment practices to flourish.

“The NASUWT will continue to take all steps necessary to support our members in ensuring they are treated fairly at work and to underline to employers that they are not above the law.” 

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