Violence against teachers brought to the fore at NAUWT's national conference

    Improved training crucial for schools to fulfil their duty of care to staff

      • Sector News
    • 06.04.21

    NASUWT teaching union has highlighted the high levels of verbal and physical abuse teachers are facing on a daily basis at their annual conference, yet say the serious abuse is going largely unchallenged by schools. 

    According to the teacher’s union, more than 6% of teachers they surveyed said they had been subjected to physical violence by pupils in the past year, 10% had received threats of physical violence from students and while 38% had been subjected to verbal abuse from those they teach.

    Despite these large figures, only 42% of teachers felt the school had dealt with the incident in a satisfactory manner, with the majority of cases going unchallenged. 

    NASUWT general secretary Patrick Roach said: “Improved training for school leaders and a whole-school approach to promoting positive behaviour, coupled with a consistent and robust approach to dealing with incidents of verbal and physical abuse against staff, should be embedded in every school.

    Schools have a duty of care to their staff, and it is about time that all schools took that responsibility seriously.

    The statistics are taken from the NASUWT’s Big Question Survey of members across the UK, which received 4,739 responses between 21 February and 29 March.

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    Maybo perspective

    In our experience the schools that are most effective in minimising risks of violence involving teachers and pupils are those that invest in really understanding and supporting children and reducing behaviours of concern. A ‘zero tolerance’ approach is limited, unhelpful and generally counter-productive in settings supporting children with additional needs.

    Recently, the Department for Education announced a new £10 million behaviour hub programme, which plans to partner high-performing schools and multi-academy trusts with those struggling with poor discipline through peer mentoring, training and support.

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