Pupil lost fingers in art accident

A school has been ordered to pay £19,000 after a 16-year-old girl lost most of her fingers when she put her hands in a bucket of plaster of Paris during a school art lesson.

The teenager was attempting to make a sculpture of her own hands during a lesson in January 2007 when the horrific accident happened, Boston Magistrates’ Court in Lincolnshire was told.

The plaster set around her hands and neither staff nor paramedics could get it off during the lesson at Giles School, in Boston.

The court was told that temperatures up to 60C can be generated in large quantities of plaster and the girl, who was referred to in court only as student X, suffered terrible burns.

Plastic surgeons did what they could to help her but after a series of 12 operations she was left with no fingers on one hand and just two on the other.

The foundation school’s governing body admitted breaching health and safety regulations and also failing to report the incident to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

The court was told the HSE was never informed by the school about what happened. It only found out six weeks after the incident from the girl’s plastic surgeon.

The school was fined a total of £16,500 and ordered to pay £2,500 in costs.