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A third of teachers have suffered abuse from parents, study shows

Primary teachers are most likely to experience negative behaviour from parents on school premises, research suggests

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Primary teachers are most likely to experience negative behaviour from parents on school premises, research suggests

Three in 10 teachers have suffered abuse from parents, new research reveals.

However, it is the demands of the job – rather than the amount of abuse suffered – that dictates how stressed teachers are likely to be, according to the study.

Jermaine Ravalier and Joe Walsh, academics from the psychology department at Bath Spa University, worked alongside unions ATL and Unison, questioning more than 9,700 primary and secondary teachers, as well as teaching assistants.

They found that a third of teachers had suffered abuse from parents in the past. And more than a quarter of primary teachers – 28.1 per cent – experienced abuse and negative behaviour from parents on school premises at least once a month.

Almost a fifth – 18.2 per cent – of secondary teachers were exposed to similar behaviour, as were 15 per cent of teaching assistants.

'Letting emotions get the better of them'

Teachers and teaching assistants reported suffering a variety of abusive behaviour from parents, ranging from online messaging to confrontation on school premises.

Dr Ravalier said: “It’s a real shame that parents are adding to these issues by letting emotions get the better of them, and treating teachers in an inappropriate manner.

“Ongoing training for teachers, to help manage confrontation, is needed, as is investment in understanding the trigger points that cause abuse, so that school management teams can address the growing problem.”

'Alarming figures'

These figures directly correlate with statistics showing that the education sector has the highest incidence of long-term stress-related absences within the public sector, the academics said.

They also found that teachers reported “a number of alarming figures” when it came to abuse from parents and pupils, as well as overtime hours worked. However, none of these accurately predicted the amount of stress that teachers were likely to suffer.

“Only the high job demand of the profession is impacting on teacher stress,” the report stated.

Dr Ravalier said: “Many of the teachers we spoke to love what they do. However, these findings paint a picture of a group of professionals under pressure from many quarters.”

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