April 11, 2012

ATL survey: One third of education staff have dealt with physical violence in this school year

The results from a March 2012 survey on physical violence by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) published this month show that 33% of the 814  teachers, lecturers, support staff and school leaders who responded have dealt with physical violence from pupils this school year.

Key findings

  • 33% of respondants have dealt with a violent pupil this year
  • 89% of physical violence has involved pushing or shoving, with 75% involving punching or hitting
  • 86% of respondants have had to deal with challenging or disruptive behaviour so far this year
  • More than half of respondants believe pupil behaviour has worsened over the past 2-10 years
  • 32% of respondants said they have considered changing their profession as a result of dealing with disruptive, challenging or violent pupils/students in this academic year
  • 52% feel their school/college provides adequate support when staff report incidences of poor behaviour

ATL Response

In response to the survey results ATL general secretary, Dr Mary Bousted, said: "It is shocking that a third of teaching staff have experienced violence and that it is getting worse. ATL firmly believes that no member of staff should be subjected to violent behaviour by pupils. 

"A minority of children are very aware of their rights, have a total disregard of school rules and are rather less aware of their responsibility for their own learning and how to show respect to staff and other students. This can apply as much to over-indulged middle class children as those from challenging families. 

"It is not surprising to see that poor behaviour is often attributed to problems at home. Teachers need to work with parents to encourage good behaviour and parents should be acting as good role models by supporting staff and helping them create a more positive learning environment for their children." 

Click here to view the full survey results. 


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- Managing Challenging Behaviour