Teachers bitten, punched and kicked by pupils, report shows
2:08pm Tuesday 1st January 2013 in News
GWENT teachers have been punched, kicked, stabbed and had objects thrown at them by pupils - all in a day's work.
Figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show there were more than 386 physical attacks on Gwent teaching staff by students in the past three years.
But this may only be the tip of the iceberg a union official has warned.
At least four teachers were stabbed with pens and pencils, several were head butted, while others have been bitten, hit, scratched, kicked and had objects including chairs, scissors, stones and bottles thrown at them, in some of hundreds of attacks since 2009.
These resulted in a number of injuries including a cracked rib, concussion, bleeding, pulled muscles, sprains, cuts and bruises.
The figures show Newport council recorded the highest number of physical violent incidents towards staff totalling 228 over the past three years.
This is broken down as 87 in 2009/10, 82 in 2010/11 and 59 in 2011/12. It also recorded 13 verbal attacks including one incident where a teacher at the then Hartridge Comprehensive School was threatened with a chisel and a metal pole in 2009.
Another pupil at Alway Primary School threatened a teacher with a sharp stick saying he was going to stab her before punching the teacher in the stomach.
A high number of incidents recorded by Newport council took place at Maes Ebbw Special School and Brynglas Primary School, which has a unit for autistic children.
Caerphilly had a total of 89 physical attacks in the past three years, Torfaen saw a total of 51 during the same period, while Blaenau Gwent council has recorded just 18 since 2009. Monmouthshire council said it does not hold information specific to attacks on teachers.
But Tim Cox of teaching union NASUWT believes these figures are only a fraction of the true number of attacks.
He said the system for recording incidents is ineffective and schools often don't want to report them because they are worried it will make them look bad.
He said that while most attacks are minor, it is important all are recorded - as is a requirement of all schools.
He added: "What this shows is schools' management of pupil behaviour is not good and they don't support the people in the classrooms enough."
"Our concern is that attempts are being made to repress results when they [incidents] should be reported - then schools and local authorities can work together to stop them occurring."
All councils said it took the issue of violence against any member of staff or students very seriously and recognised the detrimental effect such behaviour can have.
Caerphilly council said its social inclusion service takes pro-active steps to promote good behaviour, and work with schools to identify and support pupils who may be experiencing difficulty managing their behaviour appropriately, so as to prevent such incidents.
Blaenau Gwent council said it was developing a behaviour strategy to support staff in working with pupils across a range of behaviours and a range of support is available to teachers affected including counselling.
Newport council said authorities use different criteria for recording these statistics but Newport City Council defines violence as any incident in which an employee is abused, threatened or assaulted in the course of his or her employment.
Torfaen's executive Member for children and young people, Cllr Mary Barnett, said instances of violence against staff were rare but are treated very seriously by school governing bodies. Every school has a comprehensive health and safety policy, guidance and procedure and any staff who are subject to violent incidents at work are appropriately supported via occupational health and counselling services, she said.
Stabbed in chest with pen - bruise to chest.
Mud and sticks thrown and thumped in back
Bite to right breast .
Throwing stones threats to smash face in with half a tile, kicking, grabbing, pushing, hitting, bruises to leg, right forearm, left arm and shoulder
Stabbed in upper right arm
St Woolos Junior amp; Infants School - bitten and struck in the head with a lunch box by a pupil - bruising
Brynglas Primary School - tripped teacher who fell to the floor - Graze and Bruising
Pill Junior & Infants School jumped from a post he had climbed and hit teacher in chest IP in the chest and kicked twice in the left calf
Hartridge Comprehensive School pupil refused to follow instructions and threatened teacher with a weapon - possibly a chisel - and a metal pole.
Maes Ebbw School - poked in both eyes by a pupil - Superficial injuries
Bassaleg Comprehensive School - pupil picked up the table and flipped it towards the IP, IP jerked out of the way - sprain
Primary School pupil threatened teacher with a sharp stick, said he was going to "f****** stab me" then punched me in the lower stomach - No injuries
Desk closed on fingers - Superficial Stabbed by pencil - cut
Headbutt - Cut Punched, Kicked, Hit by an object - Bruise
Kicked, Punched and Spat at - Superficial
Teaching assistant punched in the stomach whilst trying to break up a fight
Teacher had hair pulled, pulling neck back by pupil - strain
Teaching assistant kicked in throat by pupil - scrape
Pupil jumped onto teacher assistant's back from a chair - sprain.
Details not available.