Attacks on teachers soar

9th February 2001 at 00:00
TEACHING unions are dealing with a record number of cases where their members are considering legal or industrial action following physical or verbal attacks by pupils.

The National Union of Teachers and the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers between them have more than 100 cases on their books.

Their members want compensation for assaults, or are threatening to strike if forced to teach a violent youngster.

Even as recently as 10 years ago, the unions say, such incidents were virtually unheard of.

The Secondary Heads Association said it receives an average of one call a day from heads reporting attacks on staff. A TES poll last month revealed that one in 10 teachers had been assaulted by a pupil in the past year.

John Bangs, assistant secretary of the NUT, said: "Te Government is pressing for greater inclusion of disruptive pupils without recognising the effect this has on the vast majority of well-behaved youngsters."

The NASUWT has catalogued a series of episodes where violent pupils have been reinstated by governors or an independent appeals panel.

For example, governors in one school overturned a head's decision to exclude a Year 9 pupil after he inflicted pound;600 worth of damage on a teacher's car.

The boy had just returned from an exclusion following an attack on another teacher's car and had been excluded previously on nine occasions.

In another case, a Year 8 girl punched her male teacher in the jaw. He was left needing medical treatment and two weeks' sickness absence. The head's decision to exclude permanently was overturned by governors.

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