Teachers should search for their own names on the internet to check they are not being cyberbullied by pupils or parents, according to new government guidance.
The advice from the Department for Education has the backing of unions and also warns teachers against accepting friend requests from current or former students. It suggests they should be wary of being tagged in inappropriate photographs or videos on social media.
Education secretary Nicky Morgan, who today announced the guidance as part of Anti-Bullying Week, said: “We all know the dangers children face from online bullies, but we sometimes forget that teachers are not immune from abuse which impacts on them professionally and personally.”
A survey by the NASUWT teaching union earlier this year found that more than a fifth of teachers reported having had adverse comments posted about them on social media sites by pupils and parents.
Ms Morgan said that the new advice also “encourages heads to get tough on the cyberbullying of their staff”.
Christine Blower, general secretary of the NUT teaching union, said: “Addressing cyberbullying in an appropriate environment will be beneficial for staff and students.”
Meanwhile, research released today by the Anti-Bullying Alliance shows that nearly 70 per cent of teachers have heard children using words such as "spaz" and "spastic" at school. More than half of those questioned have heard pupils aiming the words at a child with disabilities or other special educational needs.
The alliance is calling on schools to recognise the bullying of disabled and SEN students. Previous studies have shown that children in these categories are twice as likely as others to suffer from persistent bullying.
But there was better news yesterday when the government published the findings of a major study of secondary students revealing that 10,000 fewer of them were being bullied on a daily basis than was the case a decade ago.
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