Tue, 5 July 2022

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By Dods Impact
By Shabnam Nasimi
Press releases

Verbal abuse of teachers on the increase


3 min read Partner content

Teachers are reporting increasing concerns over pupil indiscipline, a survey by the NASUWT, the largest teachers union in the UK, has found.

Nearly three quarters (73%) of teachers who responded to the NASUWT’s annual Big Question survey think there is a widespread behaviour problem in schools today, a 5% increase on the 2014 survey, and 42% believe there is a behaviour problem in their schools, a 5% increase on the 2014 survey.

More than four out of five teachers (82%) say they have been subject to verbal abuse by a pupil in the last 12 months, an increase of 30% on the 2014 survey, and more than a third (38%) have experienced verbal abuse by a parent or carer in the last year, an increase of 14% on the 2014 survey.

Nearly a quarter (23%) have received threats of physical assault by a pupil, up 10% on the 2014 survey, and 16% have actually been assaulted by a pupil in the last year, a rise of 7% on the 2014 survey.

Over a third (34%) of teachers believe that the curriculum and assessment policies in their school contribute to poor behaviour, with teachers citing an excessive focus on data-driven targets (62%), teaching to the test (11%) and a narrow curriculum (10%) as the features which most contribute to poor pupil behaviour.

Nearly half (49%) of teachers say they are not given the appropriate training, information and advice to deal with poor pupil behaviour.

The findings are being released as representatives at the NASUWT’s Annual Conference in Cardiff debate a motion condemning the lack of support for teachers in dealing with indiscipline.

Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, said:

“These statistics show a widespread and increasing problem of pupil indiscipline.

“It is clear from the responses of teachers to the survey that increasing class sizes, the lack of support for children with special needs in mainstream schools, a narrow curriculum offer and cuts to local authority specialist services are all having an adverse impact on pupil behaviour.

“The Coalition talked tough when it came to office about supporting teachers to tackle pupil indiscipline, yet on its watch the problems have increased.

“Deeply worrying is the increase in verbal abuse of teachers and the failure in some schools to take this seriously and to tackle it effectively.

“No one should go to work with an expectation that it is acceptable to be abused.

“In other walks of life, employers seem to be going out of their way to protect their staff from verbal and physical abuse.

“Go into any AE department, doctors’ surgery or railway station and prominently placed posters warn the public of the consequences of abusing the staff.

“Why should teachers be expected to tolerate verbal abuse and violence?

“Using these survey results and the evidence collected over the last three years from our previous surveys on pupil indiscipline, the NASUWT will be seeking urgent talks with an incoming government on effective strategies to support teachers.”