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'One teacher attacked in district every day' claims union
Daily attacks on Bradford teachers by unruly pupils will lead to hundreds leaving the profession, a leading teaching union warned today.
Kicking, spitting and biting is the grim reality for many school staff in the district, according to Pam Milner, the regional spokesman for the NASUWT, which represents many local teachers.
Mrs Milner said staff morale had hit rock bottom and blamed attacks on the absence of parental control and the lack of specialist places for those with learning difficulties.
She said that those teachers subjected to violence, in mainstream primary, secondary and specialist schools, would rather leave the profession to do menial jobs than choose to face the threat of working in a problem district school.
And she warned that a shortfall could mean the Council being forced to recruit from as far afield as Australia and Canada.
“Threats are part of many teachers’ lives,” she said. “I would say somewhere in Bradford teachers and support staff are subjected to violence every day and much of it is not reported. That is because some teachers believe it is not helpful to the child.
“People are subjected to verbal abuse, kicking, biting and spitting.It is a mixture of significant behavioural problems and some have no parental support whatsoever.
“A lot of parents do not have respect for authority and a significant minority actually engage their children to get one over on authority and the teacher is constantly undermined.
“I take my hat off to people who work with such children. Many people are thinking of leaving the profession as the joy has gone out of it. I can see hundreds of teachers leaving because of the violence.”
Her claims were backed by ATL’s Stuart Herdson, who said that, on average, attacks on local teachers were happening daily. He criticised Education Bradford and subsequently Bradford Council for failing to supply the unions with the official violence reports filled in by schools each time one of their teachers was attacked.
“We do get violence at work reports though they seem to be misappropriated by the Council,” he added. “We haven’t had any figures for the last three to four months.”
Ian Murch, assistant branch secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said he did not believe attacks on teachers had worsened.
“There are not assaults on teachers every day and they usually happen with children who are disturbed,” he added.
Councillor Ralph Berry, the executive member for children’s services, said he thought it was ‘fundamentally wrong’ for teachers to be attacked and said he would be looking into the incident report issue.
“If teachers are being attacked on a daily basis, the leadership of the school needs to get a grip on that,” he said. “If that means we have to get the police and social care involved that is what we should do. If those children are exhibiting that level of behaviour I think we ought to be asking serious questions of what is going on in these families.
“It is in no-ones interest to minimise, cover up or ignore this.”