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School in court after pupil’s life-threatening injuries

A boys’ school in Kent has been prosecuted after a 14-year-old boy sustained serious injuries when he was hit by a shot put thrown by another pupil.

What happened?

The boy was standing at the edge of the shot put landing zone, watching a friend’s throw, when he was hit on the back of his head by a shot during a PE lesson.

He needed emergency brain surgery on a fractured skull and sustained life-threatening injuries. He remained in hospital for over a month but has since returned to school, despite having a permanent indentation at the base of his skull.

An investigation into the incident found that, although the school had carried out a risk assessment for PE lessons and had referenced the guidance by the Association for Physical Education, it had failed to follow their recommendation that such lessons be restricted to a maximum of four sports with only one to be a throwing event.

Instead, the school had included six sports with three throwing events, which had significantly increased the risks to pupils, as had the proximity of the triple jump pit to the shot put landing zone.

What was the outcome?

The Governing Body of The Judd School, admitted to breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, and was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay £1,375 in costs.

HSE inspector, Kevin Golding, said:

“By not adopting the measures identified in their own risk assessment,
The Judd School put pupils at serious risk leading to a 14-year-old
boy being struck by a shot put and suffering life-threatening
injuries. It was a horrifying incident for him and his
family and, of course, the rest of the pupils
and the school itself.

“While he is thankfully back at school, he will have to live with the
consequences of the incident for the rest of his life.

“It is vitally important that schools review their risk assessments
for all PE lessons, but in particular for multi-sports lessons,
to check that they are safe.”

If you have been affected by an accident at work, and you would like expert advice, contact Hampson Hughes Solicitors today on 0800 888 6888 or email

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