Teachers: Violence and Abuse

Department for Education written question – answered on 25th March 2020.

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Photo of Jonathan Gullis Jonathan Gullis Conservative, Stoke-on-Trent North

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent steps his Department has taken to protect teachers from physical and verbal abuse in the course of their work.

Photo of Nick Gibb Nick Gibb Minister of State (Education)

Good behaviour in school is crucial if children are to learn and reach their full potential. As well as delivering excellent teaching, schools should be calm, safe and disciplined environments free from the low-level disruption that prevents pupils from learning. All schools are required by law to have a behaviour policy which outlines measures to encourage good behaviour, and the sanctions that will be imposed for misbehaviour. This should be communicated to all pupils, school staff and parents. Behaviour is a key element against which schools are assessed during Ofsted inspections.

Abuse of any kind is unacceptable, and this includes abuse of staff, whether by pupils, parents or colleagues. Schools have a duty of care to their staff and should address and resolve issues of abuse that teachers face. If teachers feel they have been subjected to abuse, they should report it to their employer and if necessary the police.

The Department is committed to backing heads and teachers to enforce discipline, and we have given teachers a range of powers to promote good behaviour and discipline misbehaviour. We have extended teachers’ searching powers and have allowed them to impose same day detentions. We have also made clear that teachers can use reasonable force where appropriate.

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