According to a survey of 1,250 teachers, by the ATL teaching union, four in 10 teachers have been attacked by a pupil in the last 12 months.
Of the teachers in the survey, 77 per cent said that a pupil had pushed or shoved them and a further 50 per cent had been kicked or had something thrown at them by a pupil.
A further 90 per cent of the teachers in the survey had dealt with difficult behaviour, for example shouting or swearing in the last 12 months.
According to the Government, teachers now have more power to search students and the use of force has been clarified.
Of the respondents – who came from England, Northern Ireland and Wales – 45 per cent said that they believed that pupils’ behaviour had got worse since 2014.
To illustrate the kinds of attacks the survey respondents had dealt with, one special needs worker said that she had been stabbed in the head with a pencil, whereas another teacher had been sprayed in the face with a can of deodorant. One teacher from a secondary school in Cheshire said that she has had a chair thrown at her, which hit her in the leg.
One teaching assistant from a primary school in Rochdale said:
“Staff are regularly verbally abused with very little consequences. Occasionally pupils physically attack members of staff, but this rarely leads to a day’s exclusion.”
The teachers in the survey attributed the attacks to a variety of things, such as a lack of boundaries in their home environment, which was the top reason given for disruptive, challenging and violent behaviour.
Of the respondents, approximately 78 per cent attributed the attacks to behavioural or emotional problems, whereas a further 50 per cent said that it was as a result of mental health issues.
Some 2 in 3 said that the believed that pupils are under more stress than they were in 2014, with numerous warnings of mounting pressures on schools, resulting in a lack of mental health provisions in some regions.
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