SSTA president hits out at cyberbullying against staff

10th May 2013 at 01:00

New technology has unleashed a wave of "cyberbullying" against teachers, the president of the Scottish Secondary Teachers' Association (SSTA) claimed today.

Margaret Smith argued that while abuse of students through social media and mobile phones was well documented, the scale of the problem among staff was vastly underappreciated.

"Make no mistake, there have been truly shocking examples of abuse of teaching staff by pupils: photographs taken without consent and posted on YouTube; false Facebook pages created filled with scurrilous content, including explicit sexual imagery; and the use of technology generally as yet another resource to abuse and undermine teachers," she said.

"I am convinced that the cases we hear about are the tip of the iceberg and that cyberbullying of teachers is an issue that the SSTA must confront head on."

Ms Smith is concerned about student indiscipline in general, she told the union's annual conference. Although national statistics suggested that behaviour in schools was improving, she remained sceptical and claimed that there was a "political determination" to reduce exclusion figures.

"What is needed is a consistent approach to dealing with indiscipline, an acceptance that some behaviour - violence, threats, verbal abuse of teachers - cannot be tolerated, and a national consensus for dealing with such behaviour arrived at," she said. "As one highly successful and supportive headteacher once said to me: 'It's not rocket science.'"

Ms Smith also called for a "serious re-evaluation" of the union's relationship with the General Teaching Council for Scotland, querying its system for appointing people to sit in judgement of teachers.

She also said that the workload created by Curriculum for Excellence was causing "real despair" among many teachers.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today