From education to employment


The NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union is calling on employers of teachers to make a clear commitment to protecting them from verbal and physical abuse from pupils, parents and other visitors to school sites.

As part of the Union’s ongoing campaign to support teachers and headteachers in tackling pupil indiscipline, the NASUWT has produced posters for schools designed to make a public statement on the expectation of how staff should be treated by pupils, parents and visitors to school sites.

The NASUWT posters build on the success of similar campaigns in NHS hospitals and railway stations, which make a clear statement that abuse of staff will not be tolerated.

Over eight in 10 (82%) teachers say there is a widespread problem of poor pupil behaviour in their schools today, and pupil indiscipline is now second only to workload in teachers’ top concerns about their job.

57% of teachers told the NASUWT in a survey carried out earlier this year that they had been subjected to verbal abuse by a pupil in the last 12 months and 27% said they had been verbally abused by a parent or carer.

18% had received threats of physical assault by a pupil in the preceding 12 months and 14% had actually been physically assaulted. 2% had been threatened with physical assault by a parent or carer.

Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, said:

“Go into any NHS hospital, GP surgery, railway station and many other workplaces and you will find posters being displayed which state clearly the expectations of how staff should be treated and that abuse of staff will not be tolerated.

“The NASUWT believes that those who employ teachers and headteachers should also be prepared to make such a clear commitment to the safety and dignity of their staff.

“All teachers and headteachers are entitled to a safe working environment free from violence and abuse. Employers have a legal duty of care to provide this.

“Too many teachers are going to work each day with an expectation that they will be verbally or physically abused. More and more headteachers report being abused by parents and carers.

“Verbal and physical abuse is not part of the job. It is unacceptable and must be challenged.

“Our aim is to have these posters displayed prominently in every school across the country where they will be seen by pupils, parents and visitors to the site. 

“Whether or not there is a problem of abuse of teachers and other staff in the school, the posters will reinforce the standards of behaviour which are expected towards staff.

“Good employers will have no problem with displaying the posters.”

The stats referred to above are taken from the NASUWT’s annual Big Question survey. 4,156 teachers responded to the survey, which was conducted between February and April 2019.

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