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More than one in ten (13%) teachers have been physically assaulted by a pupil in the last year, research by the NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union has revealed.

Assaults are being treated as a normal part of working as a teacher in too many schools, representatives at the Annual Conference in Glasgow heard.

The NASUWT’s Big Question Survey also showed that teachers have been subjected to: pushing/shoving (22%); threats of physical assault (19%); and verbal abuse (58%) by pupils during the last year.

Many employers are failing to protect teachers from aggressive pupils by carrying out inadequate risk assessments or not completing them at all.

48% of teachers do not feel that their school’s behaviour policy is effective or fit for purpose, and 36% of those who have experienced abuse from a pupil did not feel their employer dealt with the issue satisfactorily.

The NASUWT is undertaking in-depth research on the problem of violent behaviour in to gain a better understanding of the impact on teaching and learning.
The Union is also taking forward a number of initiatives to support teachers experiencing violent and abusive behaviour from pupils.

Dr Patrick Roach, NASUWT General Secretary, said:

“No teacher should have to go to work expecting to suffer from physical or verbal abuse by pupils.

“Employers have a statutory duty to carry out effective risk assessments – they cannot simply choose to ignore or underestimate the dangers of violent pupils.

“Where employers do fail to protect our members from aggression and violence, we will take them on and act to support and protect our members by any means necessary.”


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