School Support Staff At Risk

19 Jun 2010

There is a ‘hidden epidemic’ of violence in Britain’s schools, the union GMB has warned. The alert came after it was revealed at the union’s national congress in Southport that 526 attacks were carried out by pupils on teaching assistants and support staff in Bradford primary schools in the last 18 months. GMB Bradford convenor Ray Alderman told delegates the union had collated the figure from incident reports filed by schools. He said the attacks in primary and special schools included instances of biting, kicking, butting, chairs being thrown and staff being stabbed with pencils. He said the government must ‘pressurise local authorities to offer better support to our members suffering in these attacks, and to work to reduce the attacks in the first place.’

Neil Derrick, senior organiser for the region’s public services section commented: ‘There is a hidden epidemic of violence in our schools that it is not being dealt with. The problem is far worse in secondary schools - to such an extent that police officers are deployed in schools to deal with such behaviour. GMB want to see all councils, and schools where they do not report to councils, publish in full all the figures for physical and verbal attacks on staff over the 38 week term. We want to see schools and education authorities making concrete plans with pupils, parents, staff and all other agencies to deal with this epidemic.’ He added that the union wanted to see a policy of zero tolerance on assaults.