Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 26 October 2014

50% of teachers have suffered abuse

More than 50% of teachers in Northern Ireland have suffered some sort of violence or abuse, a study says

More than half of teachers in Northern Ireland have suffered some sort of violence or abuse, a survey has found.

Staff run a gauntlet of offensive language and insults, as well as more serious physical assault, the report from the Irish National Teaching Organisation (INTO) added. Pupils, parents, principals and other teachers were responsible for the abuse, with 57% of those consulted last May and June complaining of the threat.

Tony Carlin, senior official at INTO, said: "People do not feel safe because of a lack of secure entrances to schools, aggressive behaviour, intimidation, bullying and threatening behaviour from parents and other family members."

The representative survey, commissioned by teachers and managers, obtained 2,356 responses between May and June last year and found:

:: 50% of those who responded have witnessed incidents of violence or abuse in school;

:: 65% are aware of their schools' arrangements for reporting and recording incidents of violence and abuse;

:: 30% have never received training in respect of behaviour management;

:: 32% said their staff handbooks do not address the issues of violence or abuse against teaching staff.

Mr Carlin added: "Teachers are concerned that no-one is taking their health and safety and welfare seriously any more." He said the worst example he had come across was where a woman teacher aged 28 was pinned against the wall by a child aged 11 and suffered a dislocated shoulder.

"Teachers are kicked and bruised by pupils and we have a trend of violent pupils being given red cards," he added. "There is an underlying level of violence and we need to deal with this culture. People need to start to address the health and welfare issues that arise. The findings of this survey make dismal reading and INTO is now urging that the issues raised in this report are prioritised."

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