Bathgate Park School pupil Kelsey Macaskill (6) puts safety first as she looks through the wooden tunnel at the school's upgraded, safety mat-protected playground on Wednesday. ACC figures show there were more than 10,000 accidents at schools across Dunedin between 2008 and 2012.
More than $2.8 million has been paid out for accidents on
school grounds in Dunedin during the past five years -
representing about 40 accidents a week.
Figures released to The Star by ACC show there were 10,421
claims for accidents on school grounds from 2008 to 2012,
with $2,874,932 being paid out during the same period.
Last year ACC paid out $375,075 on 2092 claims - about half
of the $632,165 which was paid out in 2011 for only 25 more
ACC spokeswoman Stephanie Melville said the main reason for
the differing amounts was that accidents from 2012 might not
yet have been paid for.
There could also have been fewer serious accidents last year,
which would reduce the total amount paid out, Ms Melville
The data was compiled using accident location and would
include accidents involving school staff and pupils during
school hours, as well as claims for accidents outside school
hours involving the general public, she said.
Otago Primary Principals Association president and Bathgate
Park School principal Whetu Cormick said almost all schools
had their own health and safety policies in place which would
identify dangerous areas and procedures for safe play.
''In my own school, we identify injury spots if we start to
see a pattern and we talk to the kids to think about how they
are playing,'' Mr Cormick said.
Pupils were still encouraged to play but safety also needed
to be taken into consideration, he said.
The upgrading of old playground equipment might also have
contributed to fewer serious injuries.
When Macandrew Intermediate merged with Forbury School last
year, Forbury's playground was moved to the new site and a
new rubber safety mat had to be installed, he said.
The new mat cost about $28,000 and was required under the
Ministry of Education's health and safety guidelines, Mr
Although schools could not do much about people using the
grounds after hours, each school would have a sign saying
people used the grounds at their own risk, he said.
Mr Cormick said most schools wanted their grounds to be open
to the public.
''They just can't be responsible for what people do, that's
A Ministry of Education spokesman said boards of trustees
were responsible for designing, building and upgrading
playgrounds and providing playground equipment.
Funding from the ministry for playgrounds was allocated under
three priorities, with the first priority being urgent health
and safety, he said.
Although schools were owned by the Government, they were not
public property, and the decision on whether to open the
school grounds to the public outside school hours was made by
individual boards of trustees, he said.