Teacher 'kicked in chest and knocked out' as student violence increases

NASUWT found that more than nine in ten of its members have reported an increase in violent and abusive behaviour.

Teacher ‘kicked in chest and knocked out’ as student violence increases, NASUWT figures show iStock

A teacher was left unconscious after being hit with a scooter and kicked in the chest by a pupil, a teaching union highlighting a rise in violent behaviour has said.

A report from NASUWT found that more than nine in ten of its members have reported an increase in violent and abusive behaviour over the last 12 months.

The report, published on Tuesday, found 93% of the 358 Scottish members reported instances of pupils exhibiting violent and abusive behaviour had increased.

Nearly four in ten (39%) of respondents reported experiencing violence or physical abuse from pupils in the previous 12 months.

Incidents included being spat at, headbutted, punched and kicked or having furniture thrown at them.

Specific experiences include a teacher who was hit in the abdomen by a window pole and another teacher who was attacked with a scooter and kicked in the chest, resulting in unconsciousness.

Nearly four in five teachers (79%) say that the ineffective use of restorative behaviour programmes in their schools is the biggest contributor to a decline in pupil behaviour.

Some 76% also cited a lack of proper policies and procedures in their schools to deter unacceptable behaviour.

Dr Patrick Roach, NASUWT general secretary, said: “A failure to tackle violence and abuse in our schools now will have long-lasting consequences, both in terms of teacher recruitment and retention and in equipping young people with the tools they need to become healthy, happy and successful adults.

“The NASUWT will continue to take all steps possible to protect our members from violence and abuse at work and to push for the culture change we need from governments and employers to ensure schools are safe and orderly environments for our children and young people to learn in.”

Mike Corbett, NASUWT national official Scotland, said: “While we are not opposed to the use of restorative approaches as part of a range of measures employed by schools to manage pupil behaviour, the feedback from members suggests that all too often restorative systems have become synonymous with no consequences or sanctions for poor behaviour for pupils.

“Restorative approaches can have benefits, but they should not be used as a one size fits all approach to managing pupil behaviour, particularly incidents of serious violence and abuse. It is also clear from our survey that such approaches are frequently being applied inconsistently and that teachers are not being given the time or training to make such conversations impactful for all pupils.

“We have been highlighting for some time to government the need for greater action to protect teachers from violence and to address the roots causes of the rise in abuse from pupils.

“Our actions have helped push the government into convening a National Summit on Relationships and Behaviour in Schools on 5th September in which we will be participating and giving evidence.

“We will be using this platform and continuing to take all steps, up to and including industrial action in individual schools, to support teachers’ right to work in safety.

“It is now incumbent on ministers and employers to recognise the scale of the problem and work with us to put changes in policy and practice in schools in place.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “It is vital that teachers and school staff are able to work in a safe, welcoming and supportive environment.

“The Education Secretary has taken a lead role on behaviour and relationships in our schools since her appointment and will lead the first stage of the behaviour summit on September 5.

“The views and experiences of school staff will be central to the summit process, which is focusing on practical support at classroom, school and local level to make a difference on this issue.

“A multi-stage approach to the summit is planned to ensure the issues are considered in detail and to allow the later stages of the summit to benefit from the latest data following the publication of the behaviour in Scottish schools research.

“This research will provide a robust national picture in relation to behaviour in Scotland’s schools when it publishes in autumn this year.”

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