PARENTS tried to claim more than £10,000 in compensation after a youngster fell over on wet grass at a school.

The claim at Holt Farm Junior School, Rochford, was one of 79 lodged by staff and pupils at Essex schools in the past three years. It was unsuccessful.

Essex County Council set aside nearly £800,000 for claims made over those three years, a Freedom of Information request found.

The authority paid out more than £75,000 after it was found to be liable in 14 of the cases. Figures do not include those for Southend Council.

Another claim was for £40,300 after an electrical lead on a drinks machine exploded in a pupil’s face at Beauchamps High School, Beauchamps Drive, Wickford.

In that case, which took place in February last year, the county council was also able to successfully deny liabilityanddid notpay out.

But a pupil at the Phoenix Primary, Laindon, successfully received £597.44 for slipping on ice in a car park. The claim was originally for £12,100.

Of the claims, 29 were by teachers.

They include a £33,000 claim for a teacher at Noak Bridge Primary School, in Coppice Lane, Basildon, who tripped on dropped food in a school kitchen while running a training session for staff in March 2011.

Dan McCarthy, who represents Essex for teachers union NASUWT, thinks the number of complaints will increase as people look for more ways to claim.

He said: “I am not surprised at the number.

“Teaching is not a sedentary occupation and does include hazardous activities such as PE, crafts and science, all of which have their own hazards. Often, minor accidents go unreported.

“We are now inalitigious society and so schools are being forced more and more to take measures to ensure that risks are minimised and complaints are not made.”

He added: “You have to remember the numbers of people and establishments involved – 79 is a small number in comparison to the large numbers of adults and children in Essex schools.”

An Essex County Council spokesman said: “The council takes its health, safety and wellbeing responsibilities seriously and is committed to complying with its legal, moral and financial obligations. When a claim is made it is investigated thoroughly and payment made if the claim is successful.”