Shocking picture of classroom attacks

By Danielle NuttallUNION leaders called last night for tougher Government action after it emerged a teacher is assaulted by a pupil every nine minutes in East Anglia.

By Danielle Nuttall

UNION leaders called last night for tougher Government action after it emerged a teacher is assaulted by a pupil every nine minutes in East Anglia.

Some of the attacks are so serious that victims have required hospital treatment and schools have been forced to call in the police.

The shocking situation was revealed by the National Association of Schoolmasters and Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT), which carried out a survey of teachers in the region.

It found 30 teachers in Suffolk were verbally abused or assaulted by a pupil - nine of whom suffered a physical attack - in a single week.

In Essex, the figure was even higher with 47 verbal or physical assaults in a week, while Norfolk reported 32 and Cambridgeshire 19.

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Most of the incidents took place in secondary schools, with the assailants mostly male and in years 10 and 11.

The majority of the assaults took place before lunch and equated to one every nine minutes in the region.

Keith Anderson, NASUWT Suffolk Federation Secretary, said the problem was not getting any better and was responsible for many teachers leaving the profession.

“It's obviously worrying - nobody expects to go to work and face violence or verbal abuse,” he added.

“The Government's policy on inclusion is flawed and not in the best interest of all pupils. There are more problems with violence as mainstream education is not necessarily the best place for them.

“Alternative provision with specialist teachers would be more appropriate. What we have called for is proper provision be made available for excluded pupils.”

Mr Anderson said teachers often faced students who refused to follow instructions and reported incidents of chairs being thrown.

“Nobody wants to go to work in that environment. I know of incidents in Suffolk where teachers have been physically assaulted and needed hospital treatment. We advise our members that they do involve the police,” he added.

Mr Anderson said the union often faced school management problems following assaults, where members have had to ballot to refuse to teach certain pupils.

Teachers in East Anglia reported a total of 209 assaults during the week the survey was carried out - among these were 131 verbal attacks, 53 physical, six sexual, six homophobic and eight racial.

danielle.nuttall@eadt.co.uk

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