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Quarter of teachers are attacked by pupils every week

'The poll by teaching union the NASUWT, ahead of its annual conference in Belfast this weekend, also found 86% of teachers have been sworn at, and 42% verbally threatened' (stock photo)
'The poll by teaching union the NASUWT, ahead of its annual conference in Belfast this weekend, also found 86% of teachers have been sworn at, and 42% verbally threatened' (stock photo)

By Nina Massey

Teachers are being regularly attacked by pupils, with almost a quarter saying they suffer physical violence at least once a week.

In a survey of 4,912 teachers, 89% had suffered physical or verbal abuse in the last year.

About 24% said pupils were physically attacking them at least once a week, and 4% said this happened every day.

The poll by teaching union the NASUWT, ahead of its annual conference in Belfast this weekend, also found 86% of teachers have been sworn at, and 42% verbally threatened.

Almost three in 10 (29%) have been hit, punched or kicked, and 39% have been shoved or barged.

Others have been spat at (7%), headbutted (3%), or had personal property damaged (27%).

One teacher, who has since left the profession, said: "Having taught for almost 40 years I have witnessed a demonstrable and seemingly unstoppable deterioration in pupil behaviour."

Four in five of the respondents (81%) said the abuse had affected their enthusiasm for their job.

Only 15% felt pupils were dealt with appropriately when incidents were reported.

Chris Keates, NASUWT general secretary, said: "Pupil indiscipline is now second only to workload in teachers' concern about their job and is a contributory factor to the teacher recruitment and retention crisis." The Department for Education said: "We are committed to tackling bad behaviour in schools have made great strides in empowering teachers to tackle this issue and have recently announced a £10m investment to support schools to share best practice in behaviour management."

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