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Teachers call for action on homophobia and rape threats

Survey suggests that more than 1 in 10 teachers have been physically assaulted by a pupil in the last year

TEACHERS have called for action on homophobia and rape threats as a survey suggests that more than one in 10 have been physically assaulted by a pupil in the last year.

Nearly half of teachers surveyed said that they do not feel that their school’s behaviour policy is effective and “fit for purpose,” according to a poll by the NASUWT teaching union.

The survey of 8,466 NASUWT members suggests that 13 per cent of teachers have been physically assaulted by a pupil in the last year.

At the teaching union’s annual conference in Glasgow on Sunday, teachers told how they had also been subjected to racism, sexual assault and physical assaults including being kicked, bitten, punched and slapped by pupils.

More than one in four teachers also said that they have been subjected to verbal abuse by a parent or carer during the last year.

Delegates heard that assaults are seen as a “normal part of teaching” in too many schools and Bristol-based teacher Wendy Exton urged the union to take a stand.

The teacher of 28 years said: “The continual abuse directed at myself, and I’m not alone here, takes its toll on your wellbeing.

“It’s simply another stress that we do not need. Not only are we subjected to derogatory language, but racism and homophobic language and more recently threats of rape, sexual assault, being stabbed or even threats to harm family members.”

Ms Exton also said threats of sexual assault are becoming “increasingly common” due to the rise of online pornography, exacerbated by the Covid-19 lockdown.

Teachers have been subjected to pushing and shoving, threats of physical assault and verbal abuse by pupils during the last year, according to the survey.

A teacher who responded to the survey said: “I regularly had a child that would throw chairs at me, threaten to kill me and my family. Say he was going to stab me.”

Another said: “I was upskirted. I have had an unknown substance sprayed in my face. I have been verbally abused and shoved several times.”

The Department for Education (DfE) said that its £10 million Behaviour Hubs programme aims to support up to 700 schools to improve their pupils’ behaviour.

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