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Almost half of teachers ‘face physical violence from pupils,’ new study reveals

ATL | Association of Teachers and Lecturers

2 min read Partner content

Forty-three per cent of education staff have faced physical violence from a pupil in the last year, according to a new survey by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers.

Of those who have experienced physical violence from a pupil, 77% said they had been pushed or shoved; 52% reported being kicked; 50% said they had had an object such as furniture thrown at them, and 37% reported being punched.

The study also found that 89% of teachers have dealt with challenging or disruptive pupils in the last year, while support staff also reported dealing with challenging or disruptive behaviour, with 90% stating they had experienced it within the last year.

With ever-more concern over the retention of teachers, worryingly, over a third said poor pupil behaviour had led them to consider a change of profession and over a quarter had considered a change of school.

Dr Mary Bousted, general secretary of ATL, said: “Although the majority of pupils are well-behaved and a pleasure to teach, having to deal with challenging or disruptive behaviour is unfortunately par for the course for education staff.

“It is shocking that more than four-in-ten (43%) education professionals have had to deal with physical violence from a pupil in the last year. No member of staff should be subjected to aggressive behaviour, in any form, while doing their job.

“A lack of funds for social services and child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) means pupils are at risk and, all too often, school staff are being left to plug the gaps in social care as best they can.

“Many schools do excellent work day in, day out, to help pupils stay on track and to keep schools a safe place for pupils and staff. But schools need support from social and health services and parents to deal with the complex issues many pupils face due to chaotic home lives or mental health issues.

“Schools need firm and consistent discipline policies in place and support from parents to ensure they support pupils the best they can.”

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