Four in ten teachers have been attacked by pupils

Four in ten teachers have faced physical violence from a pupil in the last year, according to a survey by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL).

Of those who have experienced physical violence, 77 per cent have been pushed or shoved and around half have either been kicked or had an object such as furniture thrown at them.

Nine out of 10 staff had dealt with challenging behaviour, such as swearing or shouting, in the past year.​

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Dr Mary Bousted, general secretary of ATL, said: “Although the majority of pupils are well-behaved and a pleasure to teach, having to deal with challenging or disruptive behaviour is unfortunately par for the course for education staff.

“It is shocking that more than four-in-ten (43 per cent) education professionals have had to deal with physical violence from a pupil in the last year. No member of staff should be subjected to aggressive behaviour, in any form, while doing their job.

“A lack of funds for social services and child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) means pupils are at risk and, all too often, school staff are being left to plug the gaps in social care as best they can.”

Members anonymously reported they had experienced a range of aggression from pupils.

A teaching assistant in a primary school in Rochdale said: “Staff are regularly verbally abused with very little consequences. Occasionally pupils physically attack members of staff but this rarely leads to a day’s exclusion.”

Out of the 1,250 education staff in state schools in the UK, almost half (45 per cent) stated they believe the behaviour of pupils’ has got worse in the past two years. While 50 per cent of staff said dealing with this challenging or disruptive incidents had caused them stress. 

Bousted added: “Many schools do excellent work day in, day out, to help pupils stay on track and to keep schools a safe place for pupils and staff. But schools need support from social and health services and parents to deal with the complex issues many pupils face due to chaotic home lives or mental health issues.

“Schools need firm and consistent discipline policies in place and support from parents to ensure they support pupils the best they can.”

The research comes after the recent case of a father who brutally assaulted a teaching assistant in the street and knocked her unconscious after she told off his son in the playground.

Lesley-Ann Noel, from Glenbrook Primary, suffered cuts to her head and lips, swelling to her face and a shoulder injury. The assailant Marius Feneck was not charged for the attack and ordered to complete 100 hours’ unpaid work and was given a 30-day rehabilitation order.

The judge issued a restraining order banning him from within 50 metres of the school, Glenbrook Primary and from contacting Noel.


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