The hundreds of mishaps in Lancashire's schools last year

Standing on lego, a sports field pile-on and falling down a manhole are just some of the hundreds of mishaps reported at Lancashire schools last year.

Sunday, 21st July 2019, 9:30 pm
Updated Sunday, 21st July 2019, 10:30 pm
A new report has revealed the hundreds of accidents in schools last year

In one case, a teacher in Blackpool was hurt after being hit in the eye with a shuttlecock while playing in the staff room.

More than 300 accidents involving schoolchildren in the county were reported to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) last year, while the number involving teachers and other school staff topped 100, a Post investigation found.

The figures have sparked calls for more to be done in the classroom to teach children how to avoid accidents.

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Nathan Davis from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) said that, statistically, schools are “very safe” compared to other public places.

He added: “We need to make sure that children are safe in school, but that they receive enough of a challenge to learn meaningful life lessons.

“There’s a fine balance to be achieved when exposing children to controlled risk and challenge which helps them develop their full potential.

“We recognise the problems this poses to schools and how difficult it can be to convince others that risk has been properly considered and adequately controlled.

“To help schools achieve this, we ask that prevention of accidental injuries be included as a core topic within compulsory health education curriculum.”

Reports filed with the HSE reveal an employee at Lytham Hall Park Primary School, in South Park, Lytham, was signed off work after standing on a piece of Lego and going over on her ankle, fracturing her foot.

And a teacher at an unspecified Blackpool school was hurt after being hit in the eye by a shuttlecock during “horseplay in the staff room”.

Elsewhere, at St John Fisher and Thomas More Roman Catholic High School, in Gibfield Road, Colne, a report revealed how two boys stood on a manhole cover before asking a girl to stand on it with them.

But as she stepped on it, they stopped off, causing it to tip and the girl to fall down the manhole. She broke her fall with her arms and the boys pulled her back out.

The school said the pair knew the cover, which was quickly repaired, was “wobbly and unsecure”, though it was said teachers did not.

At St Anne’s Catholic Primary School, in Slater Lane, Leyland, a boy hurt his wrist when a goal was scored during a game of football, sparking a ‘pile-on’ where youngsters jump and lie on top of one another.

The school said the accident happened at the weekend when the field has been hired out to a local football team, who reported the incident to the HSE.

A spokesman added: “This letting had nothing to do with school and the incident did not happen as part of the school day/week”.

And a worker at Elm Tree Community Primary in Skelmersdale was hurt after being “challenged to jump from one place to another by a pupil” in the car park.

He heard a loud crack - and was found to have broken his leg in two places.

At Haslingden Primary School a worker was left needing first aid after being injured during first aid training. The first aid trainer instructed one of my teachers to perform abdominal thrusts on another teacher,” the report filed with the HSE said.

“The teacher was wearing a specialist vest. The receiving teacher received inflamed ribs and stomach muscles and a possible broken rib, but this was not confirmed by x-ray.”

There was no suggestion any of the schools have done anything wrong, and many reports appear to have been filed despite there being no legal obligation to do so.

Several of the reports related to sporting injuries, which only have to be reported if they are a result of faulty equipment or a lack of supervision.

Coun Phillippa Williamson, Lancashire County Council’s cabinet member for children, young people and schools, said: “Keeping children safe from harm is an important part of school life. Schools should be a safe place for both children and adults and this is of upmost importance to us within our teaching and learning environments.

“It is important that children learn to understand and manage day-to-day risks, so that with advice and support from their parents and teacher they appreciate how accidents can be avoided.”

And Edwina Grant, the county council’s education and children’s services boss, added: “Health and safety is important in schools and they are encouraged to regularly monitor and review their health and safety policies to ensure they are reducing risks.

“As part of this monitoring, schools investigate incidents and any appropriate action is taken.

“A range of health and safety measures are in place in order to reduce risk, report and rectify faults, and improve the safety and wellbeing of children and adults.”

Other injuries were caused by children tripping and falling over their own feet or falling from climbing equipment.

At the Waterloo Lodge School, in Preston Road, Chorley, which caters for youngsters with social, emotional, and mental health needs, a teacher had to be stretchered out after being attacked by a pupils who had become agitated.

The report said the child punched two computer monitors and then “pushed (the teacher) backwards onto a desk and forced her lower back against the computer tower with force”.

She was knocked to the floor and suffered tendon and muscle damage as well as a mild concussion.

At Oakfield House School, in Station Road, Preston, which also caters for those with special educational needs, a “disruptive” pupil lashed out a broke a member of staff’s nose.

At West Craven High School, in Kelbrook Road, Barnoldswick, a worker suffered a popped ear drum after a pupil “screamed directly” into their ear during an “altercation”.

Headteacher Anne Bonney said: “This incident in February 2018 was unacceptable and a one-off. It was investigated and dealt with swiftly and seriously by the school.”

The Department for Education declined to comment on RoSPA’s calls, but will bring in compulsory health education from September next year.

Rather than teaching youngsters about how to keep safe from accidents, it will discuss internet safety and the benefits of a healthier lifestyle.