Violence against teachers: secondary staff three times more likely to be attacked than average

There were an average of 8,000 attacks on school staff annually over a six-year-period, national survey shows

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Secondary school staff are three times more likely to face violence at work than the average UK worker.

Statistics from the Labour Force Survey, obtained by BBC Radio 5 Live, reveal that over the period of six years to 2015-16, there were an average of 8,000 attacks on school staff per year.

The survey, carried out by the Office for National Statistics, involved asking 40,000 households about injuries sustained after being assaulted at work.

Kevin Courtney, general secretary of the NEU teaching union, said: "This is a real issue for teachers and it must not be ignored. The problems of pupil behaviour are always raised by teachers as one of the reasons why they leave the profession.

"We have to note that across recent years, the cuts to local authorities have meant that we have lost many support services which have been aiding children in schools. Behavioural specialists who used to help in schools: gone. Teams like that have disappeared. And that’s part of this issue as well.

Teachers 'have lost support services'

“So you can solve the problem by good behavioural policies, but you need resources. You need teachers who are not feeling stressed and you need resources to help these children.”

The Department for Education spokesman said: “This government has taken decisive action to put teachers back in charge of the classroom by giving them the powers they need to tackle poor behaviour and discipline, and has scrapped ‘no touch’ rules that stopped teachers removing disruptive pupils from classrooms.

“Teachers and school staff have a right to feel safe while doing their jobs, and violence towards them is completely unacceptable.”

A survey of Unison members in 2016 found that teaching assistants faced a “barrage” of verbal threats and abuse, with more than half of the 14,500 people surveyed saying they had experienced physical violence in the past year.

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