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Teachers tell of ordeal dealing with 70 hour weeks and a rise in parental online vigilantism

TEACHERS have told of their ordeal dealing with 70-hour weeks amid a rise in parental online vigilantism and “kangaroo court” disciplinary hearings.

Delegates at the NASUWT union’s annual conference this weekend said statutory guidance on pupil restraint has never been more urgent as the damage to the social contract between parents and schools during the pandemic has led to major behavioural problems in pupils.

Junior vice-president Wayne Broom said: “I have personally intervened in a few fights and physically restrained a pupil from jumping down a flight of stairs, potentially breaking some body part.

“On one occasion I was asked to come to the head’s office and was confronted by the police, who wanted to ask me some questions about an incident: the pupil who was going to jump down the flight of stairs, the parents had complained to the police, saying that I had assaulted their daughter.

“They did try to intimidate me saying I would be down at the police station under caution. I knew I had done nothing wrong and, after a recorded interview, the police agreed.”

In his general secretary’s address, Dr Patrick Roach said: “Every day I hear about the scourge of poor behaviour: verbal and physical assaults, online abuse, parental vigilantism.”

He said that data has shown “speculative complaints to the Teaching Regulation Agency’s [TRA] online portal have gone through the roof,” vowing that those “profiting from teachers’ misery: we are coming for you, because that kangaroo court has to go.”

Dr Roach later told reporters: “I think there are legal firms that have got preferential arrangements with the TRA where it suits their interests to milk the system … that’s profiteering, in my mind.”

He warned there are a disproportionate number of referrals for “particular groups with certain protected characteristics.”

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