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White female teacher with white secondary pupils in classroom

New research conducted by NASUWT – The Teachers’ Union shows that almost 10% of teachers in Wales have experienced pupils bringing weapons to school in the past year. But according to guidance issued by the Welsh Government in April, carrying a weapon no longer applies as a reportable reason for exclusion.

At the NASUWT Cymru Conference in Swansea this weekend, members will debate three motions to address pupil behaviour, including an urgency motion calling for the Welsh Government to allow exclusions when pupils bring weapons to school. Possession of a weapon was a reportable reason for exclusion in the 2019 Guidance but it has now been removed.

There have been a number of violent incidents at schools in Wales, including Ysgol Dyffryn Aman, Carmarthenshire, where teachers and a pupil were injured during a stabbing in April.

Dr Patrick Roach, General Secretary of NASUWT – The Teachers’ Union, said:

“Teachers have a right to a safe working environment, and children and young people are entitled to learn out of harm’s way. Yet violence in Welsh schools continues to escalate and our teachers grow desperate over the lack of support available to them and their pupils.

“Last year, we published a Behaviour Report that revealed teachers were regularly experiencing physical and verbal abuse in the classroom. Our new findings on pupils bringing weapons into schools must serve as a wake-up call to employers and the Government. They can no longer ignore the behaviour crisis unfolding in our classrooms.

“We cannot leave our teachers to deal with dangerous pupil behaviour alone. Teachers urgently require support from leaders, external agencies, local authorities, and from the Government – who must make sure that the education system in Wales has enough funding and provision to keep everyone safe.”

Neil Butler, National Official for Wales, said:

“It seems there is no end to the abuse teachers are expected to tolerate. NASUWT is deeply concerned about the physical and mental wellbeing of members, many of whom now feel unsafe in their classrooms every day.

“Our teachers face many challenges when it comes to pupil behaviour, including poor behaviour management policies, a lack of support from senior leaders in school, and a lack of alternative provision for struggling pupils outside of mainstream schools.

“NASUWT is calling on the Welsh Government to hold a Behaviour Summit for all education stakeholders in Wales so we can work together to tackle this problem through an agreed Action Plan.

“Teachers are there to teach – not to serve as bodyguards, punch bags or referees. But when pupils are bringing weapons into school, we can only expect assaults on teachers and learners to increase. The removal of ‘possessing a weapon’ from the Welsh Government Guidance just looks as though the Government is trying to brush the issue under the carpet rather than confront it.”


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