MORE than £100,000 has been paid out in compensation to county schoolchildren in personal injury claims settled in the past year, new figures show.

The massive total of £113,150 has been forked out by Worcestershire County Council in the last financial year to primary and secondary youngsters in the county.

One single payout was for £52,500 although it’s not known the nature of the claim.

The total figure relates to seven pupils, meaning each recipient saw a payout, on average, of just over £16,000.

The news has left opposition members at the Guildhall, Worcester, stunned and asking why they were “kept in the dark”.

“The figures took my breath away to be honest,”

said leader of the opposition, Councillor Peter McDonald.

“My concern is that I was not aware of this.

“We were not told and we should have been.”

The Labour leader said he had been in touch with a number of colleagues in opposition but none of them knew about the payouts either. “It just shows how we were kept in the dark,” he said. “I am rather upset and disgusted that we were not consulted so we could have provided some sort of scrutiny.

“It is outrageous. I will be speaking to officers and asking the audit office to take this up.”

He added that the authority should be learning from the claims.

“It just means we haven’t got the confidence in the council that this won’t happen again,” he added.

“We have a duty of care to the pupils who go to our schools.”

The figures were released by Worcestershire County Council following a Freedom of Information (FoI) request by our sister paper, the Worcester News.

The council said it couldn’t give details as to the nature of the accidents because, with a small number of claimants, youngsters might be identified.

The payouts relate to incidents which occurred between 2006 and 2010. A further 10 claims have been made in the last financial year which have yet to be settled.

The authority added that the number of accidents to pupils has dropped from 2011/12 to 2012/13, but didn’t give figures.

By way of comparison, in 2011, almost £58,000 was paid in compensation to schoolchildren by Staffordshire County Council.

In March this year it was reported that in the past five years, Essex County Council has paid out £220,000 in compensation to children who have been injured while attending school.