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Too many teachers are being subjected to unacceptable levels of verbal and physical abuse in the classroom and threats and taunts on social media from pupils, with schools failing to support teachers or take action where teachers report incidents, the Annual Conference of the @NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union has heard today.

6% of teachers surveyed by the NASUWT say they have been subjected to physical violence by pupils in the last year. One in ten say they have received threats of physical violence by pupils. Nearly four in ten (38%) have been subjected to verbal abuse from those they teach.

Only around four in ten (42%) of those teachers who said they had faced any kind of abuse by a pupil said their school dealt with it in a satisfactory manner.

A lack of training for school and college leaders in dealing with poor pupil behaviour is leading to a failure in many schools and colleges to take action to protect teachers and other staff from violent behaviour, verbal abuse and online threats.

Three-quarters of teachers said they had not been given any training by their school on managing pupil behaviour during remote lessons.

The Conference has called for improved training and guidance for school and college leaders on managing pupil behaviour and on their responsibilities to protect staff from abuse and attacks.

Dr Patrick Roach, General Secretary of the NASUWT, said:

“The NASUWT is unequivocal that no teacher should be expected to put up with any form of verbal or physical abuse, whether in the classroom or online.

“The Union is continuing to take steps, up to and including industrial action and refusal to teach ballots, where members report to us that serious pupil indiscipline or abuse is going unchallenged by their school.

“Our action is securing successes, but members should not be forced to seek our protection in order to be able to go to work in safety.

“Improved training for school leaders and a whole school approach to promoting positive behaviour, coupled with a consistent and robust approach to dealing with incidents of verbal and physical abuse against staff should be embedded in every school.

“Schools have a duty of care to their staff and it is about time that all schools took that responsibility seriously.”

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