Teachers at the Annual Conference of NASUWT Cymru-The Teachers’ Union will raise concerns over a serious decline in pupil behaviour over the last five years.
Representatives the Conference in Cardiff this weekend will debate a motion on poor pupil behaviour, rejecting any assertion that these incidents are just “part of the job”.
In a recent survey of Welsh members, more than two thirds of teachers (69%) reported a widespread problem of poor pupil behaviour in the school where they teach. This figure was 50% five years ago.
Two thirds (66%) of teachers had been verbally abused by a pupil in the last year, and 15% had been physically assaulted by a pupil. This compares to 57% and 8%, respectively, five years ago.
Almost half (49%) of teachers who had experienced any abuse by a pupil, or a parent/carer, did not feel that their school had dealt with the issue satisfactorily.
The NASUWT has an ongoing campaign to support teachers and head teachers in tackling pupil indiscipline.
As part of this, the Union has recently produced posters for every school in Wales, which make it clear that any abuse of staff will not be tolerated.
Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, said:
“Teachers report that pupil indiscipline is now second only to workload in their top concerns about their job.
“No one should have to go to work with the expectation that they will be verbally or physically abused, but this is the reality for too many teachers across the country.
“It is completely unacceptable that Government and Employers are failing in their legal duty of care to provide a safe working environment for teachers.”
Neil Butler, NASUWT National Official Wales, said:
“We are seeing increased industrial action in Welsh schools because of the failure of school management and local authorities to deal with poor pupil behaviour.
“Employers ignore this problem at their peril because teachers are no longer willing to put up with daily verbal abuse and, occasionally, even physical assaults.
“We will support our members with collective action wherever schools fail to take this matter seriously.”