From education to employment

“End violence against teaching assistants in our schools” says GMB Union

  • 76 per cent of teaching assistants working have experienced violence or assaults at work – new survey of over 1000 GMB London members finds
  • 1/3 of teaching assistants experience violence at least once a week including broken bones, black eyes, broken noses and bites
  • GMB Union to project anti-violence message on House of Commons and Shard

GMB London has called for an end to violence against teaching assistants after a shock survey showed 77 per cent have experienced violence at work.

The union surveyed over 1000 teaching assistants based in mainstream schools across the Home Counties, London and the East of England.

Responses showed a third experience violence every week. Injuries sustained at work from respondents include; broken bones, black eyes, broken noses, concussion, broken teeth, bites that break the skin, torn ligaments and many more.

GMB London today (25/11/22) launches its ‘Not Part of the Job’ campaign by projecting videos on the House of Commons and the Shard on the eve of United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

The survey also showed:

  • 90 per cent of teaching assistants in schools are women.
  • 92 per cent of respondents work in mainstream schools.
  • Over 50 per cent feel violent assaults are not taken seriously by school leadership
  • 70 per cent believe violence is expected to be tolerated as ‘part of the job’

One GMB London teaching assistant said:

(I got a)…“Black eye from a 5-year-old. It made me feel weak, like I couldn’t deal with a situation, deflated, stressed and impacted on home life as husband didn’t want people to think he had hurt me…It really affects my mental health and I do not enjoy going to work knowing I won’t be supported …. It does not matter how many incidents report forms I fill in.”

Another said:

“It impacts on my daily life as I’m expected to turn up to my place of employment with the expectation of being physically harmed”

Another said:

(I had) …“a lacerated eye after a child stabbed me in the eye with a pencil- I would rather not be one to one.” Another said: (I was) …” bitten, kicked, scratched, hair cut, stamped on, punched and slapped- I felt unappreciated and alone”

Lisa Bangs, GMB London Schools Lead, said:

“The injuries being sustained by teaching assistants are brutal and we have been hearing from our members how the violence and abuse also impacts on their emotional wellbeing.”

“This tolerance of violence and abuse against support staff in schools must end. Head Teachers are failing in their legal duty of care by allowing abuse and violence against their staff. This wouldn’t happen in any other workplace.”

“It is simple – nobody should be harmed or injured at work and GMB will be holding schools to account when they fail to protect members.”

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