“Stabbed with a pencil, headbutted and punched: The shocking abuse inflicted on teachers by children as young as FOUR”
A report by The Daily Mail highlights horrific new statistics regarding assaults on teachers and support staff gathered over the last two years. The figures were obtained from 70 local authorities in England and Wales by the newspaper via a Freedom of Information Act. Assaults on staff range in their severity but include:
• Nursery school Teacher headbutted and kicked by a child
• A teacher in Derby was stabbed in the arm with a pencil
• A pupil punched and headbutted a staff member after grabbing them by the neck
Worryingly this doesn’t include the scratches, scrapes, cuts and bites received from lesser assaults or splitting up fights between two or more pupils that sometimes goes unreported. Across the 70 local authorities involved, over 20,000 cases of abuse toward Teachers in the classroom were reported over a 2 year period! The full article can be found here.
So, what is being done to protect staff from injury? In short, not enough! There is a gradual shift toward staff being taught personal protection (more commonly known as breakaway) and given restraint training in schools, but this training isn’t being introduced quickly enough or to a wide enough audience. It could be suggested that this is due to a lack of knowledge regarding the legalities of the use of force within schools, specifically with the Head Teacher. It is after all the Head Teacher that decides on the training given to staff, but if the Head Teacher isn’t aware of the law and government policy on the use of force, how can they know what training to commission?
This lack of knowledge is no defence if a Teacher is assaulted and decides to take the matter to court. As the employer, the Head Teacher is directly responsible for the health, safety and welfare of the Teachers. This is an indisputable truth and cannot be avoided, but don’t take my word for it. Compensation payments totalling into the millions of pounds have been paid out to Teachers and support staff that who have been assaulted in schools nationwide. Furthermore, a breach of The Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 is a criminal matter that could see the Head Teacher as well as the school facing criminal charges.
If you are a Head Teacher, member of the Senior Management Team, Teacher or would just like some extra information on breakaway and restraint training in schools and how this can help, please follow the link or click on the button to the right of this page. There is a lot of information and advice available on the subject of reasonable force, including a document published by the Department for Education that is also available on our restraint training in schools page.
Alternatively please get in touch to discuss your needs and requirements.