Four in 10 teachers experienced physical violence from a pupil in the past year

The BBC is reporting new research that suggests four out of 10 teachers have experienced violence from pupils in the past year.

Of the 1,250 staff surveyed by the ATL teachers union, 77% said they had been pushed or shoved and around half were kicked or had an object thrown at them.

Nine out of 10 staff had dealt with challenging behaviour, such as swearing or shouting, in the past year.

The government said teachers now had greater powers to search pupils and the use of force had been clarified.

However, 45% of the panel of teachers surveyed across England, Wales and Northern Ireland said they felt pupil behaviour had got worse in the past two years. Teachers in Scotland were not included in the survey.

Teachers put the cause of violence down to a number of things.

A lack of boundaries at home was singled out as the top reason for challenging, disruptive or violent behaviour.

Some 78% pointed to emotional and behavioural problems as the cause, while nearly half said it was down to pupils’ mental health issues.

And nearly two-thirds of teachers felt pupils were under more stress than two years ago.

General secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, Dr Mary Bousted, said having to cope with challenging or disruptive behaviour is unfortunately par for the course for education staff. 

“It is shocking that more than four in 10 (43%) education professionals have had to deal with physical violence from a pupil in the last year,” she said. 

“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.”

More at: Four in 10 teachers ‘attacked by pupils’


This is the second significant story in two days on violence against teachers which is not good at all.

I cannot find this research on the ATL website so cannot see exactly where the 4 in 10 number comes from (in the TES they have slightly different breakdowns – Dealing with violent pupils is ‘par for the course’ ) – but if valid it is a dreadful statistic.

Do you agree with Dr Bousted about the underlying causes of aggressive behaviour in class or think she has missed anything?

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Categories: Teaching.


  1. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove This all stems from the media & politicians continually slating teachers & schools; public often foolishly believe the press

  2. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove DfE claiming to have given schls more power fails to accept willingness of some to attempt to claim comp £ for anything

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