Insults to teachers peak on Monday

20th January 2006 at 00:00
Most people hate Mondays, but teachers have an added reason to dislike them - it is the day they are most likely to be verbally abused, a survey by the second largest teaching union reveals.

More than a quarter of all incidents happened on a Monday, with Friday the day teachers are least likely to be abused, according to the study by the NASUWT.

It found that teachers faced a "daily torrent of abuse" from pupils ranging from relatively minor incidents of swearing to offensive personal and sexual comments, racist and homophobic remarks and threats of violence.

Pupils were particularly likely to become aggressive before lunch, with the worst offenders those in Years 9, 10 and 11.

The survey of 355 teachers in the South-west asked them to record the level of verbal abuse they received every day. One pupil told his teacher: "Kiss my arse... saggy tits... fucking little slut."

Teachers reported 13 threats of violence, including "Do you want a fight?", "I'll get my brother to stab you in the face" and "I'm going to petrol-bomb your car."

Another pupil who stuck a middle finger up at a teacher was supported by their mother.

Of the recorded insults, almost three-quarters occurred in the classroom, with only a handful happening outside school.

Chris Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT, said: "There is a great deal of work still to be done to tackle the corrosive and debilitating effects on teachers of verbal abuse.

"No one should have to face this on a daily basis. It is essential that the health and welfare of staff is protected by a clear school policy of zero tolerance of this type of behaviour."

Strengthened powers for teachers to discipline pupils are expected in the Education Bill due to be published next month.

These powers, which have been welcomed by teacher unions, include giving staff the right to use reasonable force to restrain pupils as well as sanctions against parents who refuse to work with schools to ensure pupils'

good behaviour.

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