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Teachers driven away by violence

PUBLISHED: 12:12 27 March 2002 | UPDATED: 11:38 03 March 2010

VIOLENT assaults by parents and pupils are driving teachers out of the profession in Suffolk, a union spokesman warned today.

National Union of Teachers county secretary Martin Goold said scores of teachers were suffering violence every year – and called for more prosecutions to be brought.

By JUDY RIMMER, education reporter

judy.rimmer@eveningstar.co.uk

VIOLENT assaults by parents and pupils are driving teachers out of the profession in Suffolk, a union spokesman warned today.

National Union of Teachers county secretary, Martin Goold, said scores of teachers were suffering violence every year – and called for more prosecutions to be brought.

"Teachers should not have to put up with assaults in their workplace," said Mr Goold.

"If there is a violent incident then the first presumption should be that there will be a prosecution."

He called for the local education authority to give greater backing to teachers in such cases, and said: "There have been scores of assaults on teachers in Suffolk – but you could count the number of prosecutions on the fingers of one hand."

His comments came as Education Secretary, Estelle Morris, said LEAs should work with schools to bring criminal proceedings in cases of assault.

She was giving a speech today to the Association of Teachers and Lecturers' annual conference in Cardiff, including the pledge: "There is no excuse for attacking teachers. If parents do, then they must be prosecuted."

Mr Goold told the Evening Star today that a small minority of parents in Suffolk were abusive to teachers, going into schools and pushing or hitting members of staff.

"There have even been a very few cases of grievous bodily harm," he said.

"As well as physical attacks, there are literally hundreds of cases where teachers are subjected to verbal assault by parents and pupils – these cases are not always recorded."

He said he knew of teachers who had been driven out of the profession by violence and verbal abuse by both parents and pupils.

One headteacher in the north of the county had resigned after an unfortunate incident with parents, and others had gone sick with stress after being subjected to shouting and swearing. He said verbal abuse could be just as distressing as physical violence.

"Teachers keep saying that pupil behaviour has deteriorated and this is one of the reasons why so many are leaving the profession."

Mr Goold said that, as well as the small minority of parents who were physically violent, there were many more who failed to support their children's teachers.

Nobody from the local education authority was available for comment as the Star went to press.

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