Wed. Apr 17th, 2024
alert-–-one-in-five-teachers-have-been-hit-by-pupils-this-year,-report-reveals-–-amid-claims-children’s-behaviour-has-worsened-since-covid-because-parents-are-‘less-tolerant’-and-have-‘lost-respect-for-school-rules’Alert – One in five teachers have been HIT by pupils this year, report reveals – amid claims children’s behaviour has worsened since Covid because parents are ‘less tolerant’ and have ‘lost respect for school rules’

One in five teachers have been hit by pupils this year, amid claims children’s behaviour has become more violent since the pandemic.

Spitting, swearing, fighting, pushing and chair-throwing were among things happening more frequently in schools across the country, according to a new survey.

The research, commissioned by the BBC, asked 9,000 teachers in England about their experiences managing behaviour in the classroom – and a higher proportion reported violent behaviour compared to two years ago.

The impact of Covid lockdowns has long been blamed for the change in attitude, with one boss claiming parents are ‘less tolerant’ than before the pandemic, ‘and that communicates itself to students as well’.

Previous research also found the number of suspensions has doubled in six years, with parents accused of not having ‘any respect or regard for school rules’.

Supply teacher Lorraine Meah, who has been working in the profession for 35 years, reported seeing children aged just three to four-years-old ‘spitting and swearing’.

But she admitted the worst behaviour came from five and six-year-olds with ‘dangerous tendencies’ like throwing chairs. 

She told the BBC: ‘You will get three or four children in your class displaying challenging behaviour. That’s hard to deal with when you’ve got a class of 30.’ 

Teachers reported that spitting, swearing, fighting, pushing and chair-throwing were among things that happened more frequently in schools across the country. Pictured: Two school pupils fighting in the school playground (stock image)

Teachers reported that spitting, swearing, fighting, pushing and chair-throwing were among things that happened more frequently in schools across the country. Pictured: Two school pupils fighting in the school playground (stock image) 

But Nick Hurn, CEO at Bishop Wilkinson Catholic Education Trust which has schools in Durham, Sunderland Gateshead and Northumberland, said last year it was only a small minority who were causing problems.

He said both children and parents had become ‘far less tolerant’ since Covid.

He told The Guardian in November: ‘So you do get a little bit more awkward behaviour from more children than you used to get. If they’ve seen the parents don’t have any respect or regard for school rules, why should they?’

Zac Copley, who spent a year as a supply teacher, told the BBC it sometimes felt like a ‘never-ending battle’ to manage pupils’ behaviour.

He recalled having to pull children apart when they were fighting one another, as displays were ‘ripped off the wall’.

Have you experienced abuse from pupils? Email [email protected] 

A graphic showing how pupil behaviour is getting worse in English schools, according to a survey conducted by the BBC

A graphic showing how pupil behaviour is getting worse in English schools, according to a survey conducted by the BBC 

On one occasion, he said a pupil who had been sent out of class had tried to break back in with a cricket bat.

The survey, commissioned using Teacher Tapp, found 30 per cent of teachers had seen a fight in the week they responded to the BBC’s questions.

READ MORE: Crisis deepens at £34million newbuild Welsh school where striking teachers claim they are treated ‘like punching bags’ as executive headteacher suddenly steps down

 

Two in five teachers said they had witnessed some form of aggressive behaviour which needed intervention in a single week.

Dr Patrick Roach, general secretary of the NASWUT union, told the BBC the rise in abuse in schools is down to ‘cuts to specialist behaviour and mental health services’ which have left teachers trying to ‘fill the gaps’ that require specialist input from that of a counsellor or therapist. 

It comes as revealed on Tuesday that ‘scared’ teachers were locking classrooms to keep violent pupils out. 

One school teacher in Tower Hamlets, where recent data showed there were cases of children being suspended for using knives, screwdrivers and even a BB gun, told : ‘It can often be a challenging environment to work in.

‘I often deal with difficult students who don’t seem to want to learn at all. Some can be quite aggressive which makes safety a big concern.’

Karl Mackey (pictured), headteacher of St John Fisher Catholic Academy in Dewsbury has been working hard to improve its behaviour after it was rated 'inadequate' by Ofsted in 2022

Karl Mackey (pictured), headteacher of St John Fisher Catholic Academy in Dewsbury has been working hard to improve its behaviour after it was rated ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted in 2022

Teachers have been forced to lock classroom doors amid fears of having to keep aggressive pupils out

Teachers have been forced to lock classroom doors amid fears of having to keep aggressive pupils out 

READ MORE: The school where teachers are so scared they’ve gone on STRIKE: Parents and staff reveal the horror of facing racial abuse, threats of sexual assault against female teachers, a warning one would have her throat cut and gang fights galore

 

Research by consultancy Public First, revealed a ‘seismic shift’ in parents’ attitudes towards school attendance, with pandemic closures and teacher strikes damaging the social contract between schools and families. 

More children are also being home schooled than ever. Official figures showed that 86,000 children in England were home schooled on one day last year – and 116,300 are home schooled full time. Both are steep increases of up to 50 per cent on pre-pandemic levels.

Rachel Clark, who has a 15-year-old daughter, recently withdrew her out of mainstream education because she said the system ‘isn’t fit for purpose’.

She told : ‘The rise in behaviour problems since Covid is a symptom of what the Government has done to education but they are determined to blame the children. Adding more and more pressure, focus on results instead of the process, turning schools into sweatshops. Then when children respond to this pressure, punishing them.

‘The rise in homeschooling isn’t feckless parents who think school is optional, it’s professional, well educated parents who believe the education system isn’t fit for purpose and these children are transformed when they leave that environment.

‘I’m sick of the Government blaming Covid, kids, parents, teachers anything but own it.’

St John Fisher Catholic Academy in Dewsbury has been working hard to improve its behaviour after it was rated ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted in 2022.

Karl Mackey, the school’s fifth headteacher in six years, told the BBC there was a ‘culture of bullying and intimidation’ at the school that needed to be stamped out.

Debra de Muschamp, (pictured) from the head teachers' union told the BBC some teachers have been left 'shaken, frightened and isolated'

Debra de Muschamp, (pictured) from the head teachers’ union told the BBC some teachers have been left ‘shaken, frightened and isolated’ 

Under Mr Mackey’s leadership, mobile phones have been banned and there are strict rules about going to the toilet during lessons.

Creative subjects like Drama, Dance and Music have also been brought in.

Mr Mackey went on to say that parents and the wider community have noticed a shift in pupil’s behaviour. 

He said: ‘This year you’ll see them in lessons every single day, not late, in perfect uniform, trying their hardest.’

During the pandemic, the Department for Education launched a £10million behaviour hub programme to allow schools struggling with pupil behaviour to be paired with others to offer advice and support, but the programme is due to finish this year. 

One in five respondents also reported experiencing online or verbal abuse from parents. NAHT said teachers had reported having their tyres slashed and have been physically assaulted.

Speaking to the BBC, Debra de Muschamp said it had left some teachers feeling ‘shaken, frightened and isolated’ and said ‘enough is enough’.