According to the report, a survey of more than 4,700 union members revealed that 38% of female school teachers have faced verbal harassment from students in the last year, while 10% have received threats of physical assault from students during that period.
School teachers in the UK are dealing with “derogatory sexualized” language and threats from out-of-control students in the classroom, BBC reported following the annual conference of the NASUWT union.
According to the report, there has been a “deterioration” in student conduct in recent years as many teachers “struggle alone” with some serious cases.
“Today, we have to deal with many of society’s problems in schools, issues with drugs and violence, knife crime, county lines that spill over into our classrooms,” NASUWT executive member Wendy Exton is quoted in the report as saying in her address. “Today’s behaviour directed to us as teachers include not only vile language, but derogatory sexualised terms, threats to ourselves and our families, and indeed, violence itself.”
According to the conducted poll, 6% of teachers had been physically abused by students in the previous year.
“These crimes often go unreported as schools are afraid of the repercussions,” Exton added. “In classrooms, many staff are struggling alone with extreme behaviours.”
The report indicates, citing a motion passed at the meeting, that teachers are often left without sufficient resources, and many school and college leaders do not obtain adequate training.
Exton said that any blame for bad behavior was generally shifted away from the student, with reasons ranging from “from living on a council estate to trauma and even lack of tobacco.”
“We need to reclaim our classrooms, but we cannot do it alone,” she stated.
The conference participants lambasted schools and colleges for claiming that “unacceptable” student behavior is simply “part of the job.”
According to the report, teachers who have balloted for strike action in order to refuse to teach aggressive students were praised in a motion at the meeting.
The NASUWT general secretary, Dr. Patrick Roach, reportedly claimed that the union was “unequivocal” that teachers should not be subjected to any sort of abuse in the classroom or online.
“The union is continuing to take steps, up to and including industrial action and refusal to teach ballots, where members report to us that serious pupil indiscipline or abuse is going unchallenged by their school,” he said.
“In no circumstances should teachers be subjected to abuse simply for doing their jobs,” a spokesperson for the Department of Education reportedly said.
The department stated that it has “ambitious plans” to change school behavior, including making behavior management a central component of early teacher training and enhancing school guidance. The government is also investing £10 million in “behavior hubs,” where schools with “exemplary behavior cultures” exchange best practices with those looking to change, according to a spokesperson.