Teachers in Wales experiencing significant rise in verbal and physical abuse, union survey finds
Schools in Wales have seen a significant rise in pupil misbehaviour, according to a newly released study by NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union.
The research, conducted over the last year, unveils concerning data highlighting the increasing rates of verbal and physical abuse teachers are encountering from their students.
Nearly seven in ten (69%) cited poor socialisation skills following Covid restrictions as being the greatest driving factor behind the rise in poor pupil behaviour.
Additionally, the research suggests that ineffectively implemented behaviour programmes, coupled with a lack of robust policies to deter misbehaviour, are exacerbating the situation.
A worrying 38% of teachers shared that they had been on the receiving end of physical abuse, recounting unsettling experiences of having objects, including furniture, thrown at them.
Some also reported being bitten, spat at, and subjected to physical assaults like headbutting, punching, and kicking.
The study further revealed that verbal abuse was more widespread, with a staggering 95% of teachers indicating they had been verbally mistreated.
Incidents ranged from being sworn at to being targeted with racial or sexual insults.
Key findings from the study include:
- A concerning 92% of respondents noticed an escalation in the number of students exhibiting violent and abusive behaviours in the past year.
- 97% observed an increase in students verbally abusing staff.
- Over one-fifth (21%) had taken time off work due to the emotional or physical impact of such encounters.
- Over half of the teachers (55%) admit they are contemplating leaving the profession due to this growing challenge.
- Only 11% felt that their reported incidents were always adequately addressed by their educational institution.
- Nearly half (49%) expressed that their employers often placed the blame on them when raising concerns about student behaviour.
Dr Patrick Roach, NASUWT General Secretary, commented on the alarming findings: “Our research points towards a significant rise in defiant and violent behaviours among students. Schools are grappling with a behaviour crisis, intensified by the lack of in-school support and prolonged waiting times to access specialist services.”
Roach further criticised the prevalent culture of placing blame on teachers for students’ unruly behaviour, which he believes is on the rise. “Rather than offering the necessary support, too many educational institutions are shifting the blame onto the very educators they should be protecting,” he stated.
Neil Butler, NASUWT National Official for Wales, mirrored Roach’s concerns. He emphasised the immediate need to address this escalating problem, warning of long-term implications for the education system, including teacher recruitment and retention.
He said: “The NASUWT will continue to take all steps possible to protect our members from violence and abuse at work. But, we need to see action at national level and from employers to ensure all schools and colleges are safe and orderly environments for our teachers to teach and children and young people to learn.” Spotted something? Got a story? Send a Facebook Message | A direct message on Twitter | Email: News@Deeside.com