13% of teachers physically assaulted by students in the last year, suggests a survey

Nearly half (48%) of teachers surveyed said they don’t feel their school’s behavior policy is effective and “fit for purpose,” according to a survey by teachers’ union NASUWT.

The survey, of 8,466 NASUWT members in the UK in March, suggests that 13% of teachers have been physically assaulted by a student in the past year.

More than one in four (28%) teachers said they have been subjected to verbal abuse by a parent or caregiver in the past year, the survey found.

Teachers reported to the union that they had been kicked, bitten, punched and slapped by pupils, while NASUWT members also said that parents had yelled and yelled at them.

The findings were released during the union’s annual conference in Glasgow over Easter weekend.

NASUWT conference delegates will debate a motion on Sunday suggesting that bullying is considered “a normal part of teaching” in too many schools.

Teachers have been subjected to shoving (22%), threats of physical aggression (19%) and verbal abuse (58%) by students in the past year, according to the survey.

One teacher who responded to the survey said: “I often had a child throw chairs at me and threaten to kill me and my family. Say he was going to stab me.

Another said: “My skirt was hiked up. An unknown substance has been sprayed in my face. I have been verbally abused and pushed multiple times.”

Another respondent said: “I have been spit on, insulted, pushed, hit, kicked. I have been called a hole for boys to put their penises in. Two Year 11 boys trapped me in my room and threatened to go through my stuff.”

Among teachers who said they experienced abuse by a parent or student, more than one in three (36%) said they did not feel their school was addressing the issue satisfactorily.

The motion, on which delegates will vote, says the union is concerned that employers are “failing” in their duties to protect teachers by not completing risk assessments or viewing them as a paper exercise.

He adds that the union is concerned that many school leaders “do not receive enough guidance to complete risk assessments for violent students.”

Patrick Roach, NASUWT General Secretary, said: “No teacher should have to go to work expecting physical or verbal abuse from students.

“Employers have a legal duty to carry out effective risk assessments: they cannot simply choose to ignore or underestimate the dangers of violent students.

“When employers fail to protect our members from assault and violence, we will confront them and act to support and protect our members by any means necessary.”

A spokesman for the Department for Education (DfE) said: “No teacher should feel unsafe or face violence in the workplace and we are taking steps to improve student behavior to ensure all schools have a safe and respectable environment. .

“Our ongoing £10 million Behavior Hubs program aims to support up to 700 schools between 2021 and 2024 to improve their behavior by partnering them with selected exemplary leading schools and multi-academy trusts.

“Our updated Behavior in Schools guide provides tips on creating whole-school cultures that explicitly state what good behavior looks like. This is so students can understand and maintain high expectations for behavior, which in turn establishes calm and safe environments.”


Leave a Reply