Teachers abused by unruly students

SUFFOLK classrooms have turned into battlegrounds with teachers facing a barrage of abuse from unruly pupils, a union claimed today.A snapshot survey of teachers shows they face both physical and verbal abuse while teaching.

SUFFOLK classrooms have turned into battlegrounds with teachers facing a barrage of abuse from unruly pupils, a union claimed today.

A snapshot survey of teachers shows they face both physical and verbal abuse while teaching.

The survey results were released at the annual conference of the National Association of Schoolmasters and Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT) in Brighton

In just one week, teachers in Suffolk were subjected to 30 assaults – nine of them physical.

In a speech due to be made to the conference today, school standards minister Stephen Twigg will insist that school discipline is still a top priority for the government.

He was expected to say that progress must be made on violence and bad behaviour by pupils and that the government would back head teachers' decisions to remove or prosecute pupils or parents behaving aggressively.

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Figures have revealed pupils are more likely to turn on their teachers during the later years of secondary school and female teachers face more attacks than men do.

While 19 out of the 30 Suffolk attacks were verbal Keith Anderson, secretary of the NASUWT Suffolk Federation, said these were disruptive to other pupils and demoralising for teachers.

He said: "I know of incidents in Suffolk where teachers have been physically assaulted and needed hospital treatment. It is quite a worrying trend and it is one of the main reasons people are leaving the profession.

"There is no other job where you are expected to tolerate verbal abuse and it shouldn't be part of the day to day job. It is demoralising and nobody wants to work in that environment."

There are also fears the reported number of assaults doesn't give an accurate picture of the true extent of the problem.

"This is just the tip of the iceberg, these were just the assaults that were reported, others are just brushed under the carpet.

"Teachers are sworn at or are challenged by pupils who refuse to follow instruction. The days where teachers were respected and were the voice of authority are going."

The union is now demanding the government provide money for alternative education for disruptive pupils.

N What do you think? Have you been affected by bad behaviour in schools? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk or visit the forum at www.eveningstar.co.uk

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