14th May 2014
Two pupils from a Kent school are still waiting to have their personal injury claims settled after an air duct fell on them during an exam.
The incident happened in May 2009, as 157 pupils took their Certificate in Preparation for Working Life exam at the Minster College in Sheerness.
One eye-witness reported at the time that he heard a cracking noise, which he dismissed as just being the weather outside. However, 20 minutes later, there was a large crash, following seconds later by the collapse of the air duct.
Kent Fire and Rescue Service remarked that it was "very lucky" that the duct fell between two rows of pupils – a couple of feet either side could have proved fatal.
As it was, there were a total of 12 casualties – including four who were seriously hurt with head, neck and back injuries. Additionally, a small number of people who were in the exam hall were treated at the scene for shock.
All, bar the two most seriously injured, have had their personal injury claims settled by Kent County Council. Whilst the amounts in question have not been revealed, it is known that the students will not be able to access the money until they are 18.
Minster College has now closed following a planned merger with Cheyne Middle School to form the Isle of Sheppey Academy.
According to the health charity Headway, around one million people end up in Accident and Emergency each year as a result of a head injury, whilst many more go unreported and are not dealt with by medical professionals as a result.
The organisation also reveals that there are around 500,000 people in the UK who are living with long-term disabilities as a result of a head injury, with 15 per cent of these being classed as moderate or severe.
A number of other schools around the country have also had to pay out personal injury claims after pupils were injured whilst in their care.
At the end of last month, Lincolnshire County Council revealed that it had paid out £85,000 to injured pupils in the last five years, whilst this week, Suffolk County Council disclosed that they had paid £407,042 to students, including a £150,000 personal injury claim to one student from a school in Sudbury.