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Compensation culture of school accident pay outs once again make headline news

A recent BBC article published figures that reveal an apparent doubling in school compensation pay outs from £1.65m in 2014 to £3.45m in 2016.

The article was headlined ‘School compensation pay outs include blindfold mishap and whiteboard accident. However, ‘Hard facts bust the myth of a ‘compensation culture’ of school accident pay outs’ is what the headline should have read!

“The attempt of this piece of journalism was to raise alarm at an apparent doubling of pay outs from English schools,” said our friend and colleague Tim Gill in his Rethinking Childhood blog.  “However, this major news story on the BBC website uses false comparisons and basic errors to create a highly misleading picture about the sums paid out for accident claims in schools. Far from revealing a ‘claims culture’, the figures actually show that pay outs make up a tiny proportion of education budgets, and are not on the rise.”

Read the full blog HERE.

So what morals can be taken from this story?

Firstly there simply is not an epidemic of claims for school accidents. On any reasonable measure, the actual level of pay outs is not a major problem. The fear of claims may well be a problem. But it is partly fuelled, I would suggest, by exactly the kind of media scaremongering shown in this BBC piece.

Secondly the myth of the compensation culture is strong. So strong that supposedly respected news agencies are apparently willing to manipulate their coverage to fit it, even when it flies in the face of their own facts.”

Wildside in Scotland has a decade of experience in Managing Risk in Play Provision, including:

  • Government guidance
  • piloting of the “new” risk benefit assessment practice
  • designing bespoke play spaces
  • co-ordinating the national Risk It conference and
  • training Health & Safety teams and play providers in practical risk benefit assessment.

So if you need help and support in this area please contact us.  We can also assist in the development of a simple policy context to support your decision making process and its communication.