Teachers' union launches poster campaign to tackle abuse of staff

12 June 2019, 15:45 | Updated: 12 June 2019, 15:48

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Posters warning pupils not to physically or verbally attack teachers have been produced by a union amid fears for staff welfare.

Teachers' union NASUWT has called for schools to display the posters to set out the expectation of how staff should be treated by pupils, parents and visitors.

The union is modelling the campaign on similar strategies deployed in NHS hospitals and railway stations, making clear that abuse of staff will not be tolerated.

Commenting on the campaign, NASUWT general secretary Chris Keates said: "Go into any NHS hospital, GP surgery, railway station and many other workplaces and you will find posters being displayed which state clearly the expectations of how staff should be treated and that abuse of staff will not be tolerated.

"The NASUWT believes that those who employ teachers and headteachers should also be prepared to make such a clear commitment to the safety and dignity of their staff.

"All teachers and headteachers are entitled to a safe working environment free from violence and abuse. Employers have a legal duty of care to provide this.

"Too many teachers are going to work each day with an expectation that they will be verbally or physically abused. More and more headteachers report being abused by parents and carers.

"Verbal and physical abuse is not part of the job. It is unacceptable and must be challenged."

Ms Keates added: "Our aim is to have these posters displayed prominently in every school across the country where they will be seen by pupils, parents and visitors to the site.

"Whether or not there is a problem of abuse of teachers and other staff in the school, the posters will reinforce the standards of behaviour which are expected towards staff.

"Good employers will have no problem with displaying the posters."

The campaign follows a survey of members earlier this year which found that more than two thirds (67%) of teachers in Scotland say there is a widespread problem of poor pupil behaviour in their school or college, with pupil indiscipline now second only to workload in teachers' top concerns about their job.

Two thirds (66%) of teachers told the NASUWT they had been subjected to verbal abuse by a pupil in the last 12 months and 22% said they had been verbally abused by a parent or carer.

A further 23% had received threats of physical assault by a pupil in the preceding 12 months, 17% had actually been physically assaulted while 2% had been threatened with physical assault by a parent or carer.