Physical and Verbal attacks on teachers cause union concern On average of 8 assault takes place every day

30 January 2017

Research by Wales’ largest teaching union has uncovered that teachers and other school staff have been the victims of over 4,500 physical and verbal attacks by pupils over the past three academic years. NUT Cymru conducted FOI inquiries with the 22 local authorities in Wales with alarmingly high figures, even though 5 local authorities (Bridgend, Caerphilly, Ceredigion, Conwy and Denbighshire) either did not, could not, or refused to respond.

NUT Wales Secretary, David Evans, said:

“Clearly any incidents of physical or verbal assault by pupils towards teachers or any members of the school staff are unacceptable. To see an average of around 1,500 incidents a year is a great concern. The details of the FOI do not cover the severity of these assaults, but of course we can only assume that they were notable enough to warrant school staff to feel the need to report them. That is alarming and does need to be given consideration by schools, local authorities and the Welsh Government.

“No teacher should feel unsafe or threatened within their working environment. That impacts on the individual teachers and of course their ability to deliver high quality education to the rest of the class. A disruption in class, or in the school, due to physical or verbal assault by a pupil is not conducive to a positive education environment.

“What these figures also show is that how different local authorities report these incidents varies widely. Some of the numbers are noticeable different when they shouldn’t be and so it does beg the question why there isn’t a more standard approach to monitoring which would help in terms of putting in place policies and training to reduce the impact it may have.”

Notes to Editor:

FOI Request asked:

“How many incidents of violence were recorded against primary school teachers or staff by pupils in your council area in each of the last three full academic years?” and “How many incidents of violence were recorded against secondary school teachers or staff by pupils in your council area in each of the last three full academic years?”

Below is a collation of responses to both questions by local authority:

  • Blaenau Gwent – 137 – (only record physical violence)
  • Bridgend – No figures provided
  • Caerphilly – No figures provided
  • Cardiff – 506 – 42 Verbal. 464 Physical.
  • Carmarthenshire – 94 – (only record physical violence)
  • Ceredigion – No figures provided
  • Conwy – No figures provided
  • Denbighshire – No figures provided
  • Flintshire – 485 – No distinction between verbal and physical provided.
  • Gwynedd – 177 – No distinction between verbal and physical provided.
  • Ynys Mon – 36 – 12 verbal. 24 physical.
  • Merthyr Tydfil – 138 - 80 Verbal. Physical 58.
  • Monmouthshire – 261 – 181 Verbal. Physical 80.
  • Neath Port Talbot – 177 (Exclusions only) – (only record physical violence)
  • Newport – 216 – 5 verbal. 211 physical.
  • Pembrokeshire – 1,345 – 77 verbal. 1,268 physical.
  • Powys – 90 - 5 verbal. 85 physical.
  • Rhondda Cynon Taf – 19 - 0 verbal. 19 physical.
  • Swansea – 163 – 64 verbal. 99 physical.
  • Torfaen – 211 (Exclusions only) – (only record physical violence)
  • Vale of Glamorgan – 102 – No distinction between verbal and physical provided.
  • Wrexham – 554 – 419 verbal. 135 physical.
  • Total – 4,711
  • Average – 1,570 per year

Average of 8 assaults per day determined by 1,570 assaults divided by 195 (the number of teaching days in the school year).

Teachers Building Society