Physical attacks on us are rising, say teachers

Violence in Greater Manchester schools with growing knives problem 'exacerbated' by social media, survey finds

attacks on teachers

A quarter of teachers say physical violence has increased against them in the last year, according to a survey on violence in Great Manchester schools, Tes can reveal.

A similar amount said verbal abuse against them had increased in the last year, while more than a fifth said the number of fights in schools had increased in that time, particular in secondary schools, and that violence in school was being “exacerbated” by social media.

The survey, by social enterprise organisation Innovation Unit, also found there was a desire for more police presence in schools – according to respondents made up of 326 school staff, including headteachers, heads of pastoral care, classroom teachers and teaching assistants.


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One respondent stated: “[We need] to see community and police officers in and around our communities and schools more, engaging and educating youngsters.”

Another said: “[We need] more police engaging with students and police presence in the community, education and working with families”

The survey was carried out in schools in ten local authority areas in Greater Manchester – across an area which has experienced a 108 per cent increase in knife offences in schools since 2015, and now experiences around three knife offences in schools each week.

It also found that some teachers were reluctant to call police when they found pupils with a knife.  

Though it may not be a direct cause, social media is seen as having “amplified, facilitated and exacerbated aggressive and violent conflict,” says the report into the survey findings.

In the last year it found that fights at school had increased by 21 per cent, school exclusions by 23 per cent, physical abuse on teachers by 23 per cent, and verbal abuse on teachers by 26 per cent

“When asked what were the top factors that they thought could keep children safe, teachers said positive role models, positive peer influence, understanding consequences, engaged parents and conflict resolution skills,” the report says.

The research was  undertaken by Innovation Unit, a social enterprise organisation in support of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority’s (GMCA) Serious Violence Action Plan. It was carried out on behalf of the GMCA, Greater Manchester Police and the 10 Greater Manchester local authorities.

The Department for Education pointed to guidance on health and safety responsibilities and duties for schools and  School and college Security.

In May this year, the department announced £10 million to establish "behaviour hubs" so that schools with a track record of effectively managing pupils' behaviour can share what works with schools that need it. 

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