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Teachers Suffer 2,346 Attacks by Pupils in Essex

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by HonestMike, Aug 13, 2011.

  1. Recent published official figures reveal the shocking (but not surprising) news that Essex is the 3rd highest LEA in the UK for pupil attacks on teachers in 2010/11. This includes pupils punching, kicking, verbally abusing and, most disturbing of all, BITING teachers.

    The figure of 2,346 attacks by pupils on teachers in Essex is higher even than for Birmingham, Britain's second largest city.

    Essex's figure of 2,346 attacks does not include the 502 attacks on teachers by pupils recorded for the unitary authorities of Thurrock and Southend. If combined with the Essex figure, this gives an overall total of 2, 848 attacks by pupils on teachers in Essex (including Thurrock and Southend); the second highest total in the UK.

    No other profession would permit its workforce to be abused in this deplorable manner. In the light of the recent riots, which even the police were unable to control, what hope have teachers come September in controlling potentially rioting masses of schoolchildren ?

    Small wonder so many teachers are quitting !
     
  2. Recent published official figures reveal the shocking (but not surprising) news that Essex is the 3rd highest LEA in the UK for pupil attacks on teachers in 2010/11. This includes pupils punching, kicking, verbally abusing and, most disturbing of all, BITING teachers.

    The figure of 2,346 attacks by pupils on teachers in Essex is higher even than for Birmingham, Britain's second largest city.

    Essex's figure of 2,346 attacks does not include the 502 attacks on teachers by pupils recorded for the unitary authorities of Thurrock and Southend. If combined with the Essex figure, this gives an overall total of 2, 848 attacks by pupils on teachers in Essex (including Thurrock and Southend); the second highest total in the UK.

    No other profession would permit its workforce to be abused in this deplorable manner. In the light of the recent riots, which even the police were unable to control, what hope have teachers come September in controlling potentially rioting masses of schoolchildren ?

    Small wonder so many teachers are quitting !
     
  3. RaymondSoltysek

    RaymondSoltysek New commenter

    What percentage of this figure was taken up with "verbal
    abuse"? And in what way was that verbal abuse defined as
    an "attack"?

    I don't think the profession "permits" it workforce to
    be abused, any more than the health service "permits" its
    nurses to be abused or the Police Federation "permits"its
    police officers to be abused. They may not able to control it,
    which is why teachers, nurses and police are "abused", but
    they don’t actually "permit" it.

    Rather alarmist, n'est pas?
    And yet applications to join the teaching profession are as robust
    as ever...



     
  4. I disagree, in both of those career paths that you mentioned - the health service and Police - staff are allowed to refuse the service if they are abused, or they are allowed to use physical force. Teachers are allowed neither.



    When they are abused at the hands of a student, the first thing they are most likely to be asked is why their classroom management is so poor as to allow that to happen in the first place. I think it's odd that teachers are held accountable for student's choices to the point where this happens.



    The Edudicator: Top Ten Frustrations As A Teacher: Number 1 Being held accountable for student?s poor choices
     
  5. RaymondSoltsyek, my poisting is completely truthful, honest and based on many years experience. Somewhat splitting hairs to ask for a definition of verbal abuse. Any experienced teacher will have experienced at some point, especially in Essex, Southend and Thurrock, being subjected to a tirade of swear words and expletives, threats, derogatory comments about physical experience and even racist insults. Teachers who claim not to have suffered such, then are very much in denial, very possible senior managers with a vested interest in denying the harsh reality of teaching in state schools.

    The very fact that headteachers and LEAs refuse to display signs that warn pupils against verbal abusing teachers, and the fact that very little if anything is ever done about it, is proof that verbal and physical abuse of teachers by their pupils is condoned. No child is ever prosecuted for verbally or physically abusing a teacher, I bet you can't name one case. There is in state schools an unwritten law that teachers are expected to suffer abuse at their hands of their pupils in silence. Any teachers that complains about this becomes marked, is blamed for the pupil's abuse, even though the fault squarely lies with the child, their parent(s) and the failure of the school and LEA to ever uphold their duty of care towards their staff. Teachers might as well walk around schools with a target on their backs.

    Would you call the atrocious riots across London, Essex, Birmingham, Manchester etc 'alarmist' ? What happened on our streets happens daily in classrooms across the country. If the police coundn't cope, how on earth will a limp-wristed, liberal teacher cope with rioting by masses of pupils ?

    The numbers applying for PGCEs have fallen, which is unsurprising given the terrible abuse teachers face in the classroom, as the official figures for abuse show; not to mention the fact that teachers now have to borrow to pay for PGCEs under the ConDems, which will mean even more debt for students ! Moreover, 100s of teachers quit teaching every day, hence the mass use in schools of unqualified cover supervisors in place of teachers, and widespread use of overseas-trained teachers. State school teaching is in a real crisis. No-one in their right minbd would even consider teaching in state schools. It tends to be what graduates do as a last resort, when all other plans have failed; teaching is very much last chance saloon.

    The 2 biggest problems faced by schoolteachers today are: (i) constant abuse, physical and verbal, they have to face all day from their pupils, with a total lack of support and protection from their schools and LEAs; (ii) teachers, especially headteachers, like Raymond Soltysek and many others, who blatantly bury their heads in the sand and are in denial about just how appalling schools really are. They seek to justify the abuse teachers suffer day after day, yet are all too ready to blame teachers for the disgraceful behaviour of schoolchildren. I have seen headteachers seek to justify physical assault, including starngulation, on female teachers; indecent exposure by year 11 males before female teachers; the possession and use of drugs by pupils in schools; malicious criminal damage by pupils to staff cars on site; racial abuse of staff by pupils; the dropping of a freeze block from a bridge, by a pupil, on a car on the M11; assault by several pupils on a single pupil; trashing of a school sixth form centre, to name but a few. As long as there are teachers that always seek to justify pupils' atrocious, often criminal behaviour, there is no hope of any improvement in schools.


     
  6. Tom_Bennett

    Tom_Bennett Occasional commenter

    Blogged about this very issue here.
     
  7. Ray does being called 'limp wristed' really warrant a punch? It sounds like these teachers have anger management issues - you should have a word.
    Mike - the trouble with personal and anecdotal evidence about behaviour in schools is that it'll always be met with contradictory anecdotes from behaviour crisis denialists. Blanket statements about children rioting make life easy for denialists because in a lot of schools students tend not to riot although they may be badly behaved. If you want to make it difficult for people like Raymond to argue with you then try and focus your argument on your secondary sources which are more difficult to refute. That said Raymond has clearly done his best to start watering down the article mentioned in the OP.
     
  8. Apologies are in order here as I have mistakenly misquoted Raymond in my last post. The above quote should have been attributed to HonestMike.
    I did try and edit but TES wouldn't accept the corrected entry.
     
  9. jmntsp

    jmntsp New commenter

    Mike, agree with a lot of your comments. SMT are often very reluctant to exclude pupils, even for appalling behaviour. Please note, however, that Raymond doesn't teach in a school, although he claims to 'visit' a lot of them. Well, he might. But as we all know being a visitor to schools means you have a very limited vision of what happens in the classroom. Unless you are a full time classroom teacher you really don't have the knowledge or the credibility to pronounce upon it, in my humble opinion. Unfortunately, as we all know, education is full of 'so called' experts who claim to have all the answers. All too many of them are far removed from the chalk face.
     
  10. RaymondSoltysek

    RaymondSoltysek New commenter

    May I point out that "visiting"
    schools involves sitting in on over 70 different lessons a year.
    Given that I watch student teachers, who are less capable at
    controlling pupils than "chalk face" teachers, you'd think
    I would see pupils at their worst. And I have never, ever seen
    pupils "rioting". Indeed, in training over 1000
    English teachers in the last ten years, as well as a host of other
    subjects, I have never even heard of pupils “rioting”. If Mike can supply with me information of a "riot" he knows about, I will happily concede the point.


    And, of course, I do teach in schools, and did for over 18 years.
    While I have always admitted that those who are at the chalk face now know a great deal more about certain aspects of the job than I do –
    such as the vagaries of curriuclum delivery -
    I believe that I have a wide perspective because those chalk face
    teachers spend most of their time in one classroom in one department in one
    school, whereas I visit 70 different classrooms in 70 different
    departments in 70 different schools. That is not "far removed" from the chalk
    face - that is an informed overview.


     
  11. jmntsp

    jmntsp New commenter

    I appreciate that you feel you have a good overview of schools, but could I point out that many English schools operate on a six lesson day. That is 30 lessons a week. This means that in the course of a year you are observing lessons for just over a couple of weeks. Which isn't actually an awful lot. Also, in being an observer of student teachers I don't necessarily think you are seeing pupils at their worst, even with fairly poor student teachers. The simple act of putting an observer in a classroom changes the dynamics. Pupils are out of their comfort zone and slightly wary. They don't always know or understand who you are - you are a stranger in their room, sitting there watching, and funnily enough, behaviour is usually better than it would be. You might be an inspector - or someone important. Behaviour with the student teacher is probably completely different when the student is alone in the room with the kids.



    I'm not suggesting pupils are rioting in schools. I've never seen this either in my 20 odd years of teaching. And I have done supply for the last three years or so, so I'm also in a lot of different schools. What I would say is that poor behaviour is fairly commonplace, and that SMT seem more reluctant to deal with it than they were, say, ten years ago. They are much happier to ignore incidents or try and sweep them under the carpet. I have seen pupils saying to staff, 'get stuffed you old *** - I don't have to do what you say'. School policy was to exclude if pupils swore at a teacher and yet the teacher concerned was told, 'oh well, that's not swearing so we can't do anything'. Technically, possibly true. But I still consider it an unacceptable way to speak to a member of staff. Ten years ago I think schools would have refused to accept verbal abuse to a teacher in this manner. Not today. I would thoroughly agree with Tom Bennett's views on his blog about the denial about behaviour issues. I honestly think that if you are not teaching, day in, day out, then it is hard to appreciate how behaviour is deteriorating. Again, I would reiterate that I haven't seen rioting, or physical attacks on teachers, but the language, attitude, and general behaviour of many pupils is slowly sliding downhill as many of them realise that SMT are weak and reluctant to take a tough line. Catherine Tate's character of 'Am I bovvered?' makes me cringe because I have taught so many pupils just like that - not physically aggressive, not violent, but just unpleasant, rude, ignorant and lacking in manners and respect. Demanding respect and rights - but not admitting to any responsibility for their own actions. This is throughout all levels and classes in society, unfortunately. Very common to find teens, even ones from middle class/well off backgrounds rolling their eyes at you, saying 'Oh My God!' with big sighs when you give instructions, saying, 'Whatever!' when reprimanded, etc. All of these things I refuse to tolerate as acceptable, but it is very tiring battling this constantly. Particularly when, as most of us feel, support from SMT is lacking.




    I believe (although I may be wrong) that Mike was pointing out the recent riots as an example of how many, many people sadly felt that the fact that police were overwhelmed was a great opportunity to smash their way into shops, steal, vandalise, set flats on fire, put people's lives at risk, etc. The fact that they were breaking the law, behaving in an appalling way, acting like animals meant absolutely nothing to them. There was no justification for any of this behaviour. They were just feral. Because the only thing important to them in their lives is the desire to do whatever they feel like, no matter how it affects others. They are like toddlers - instant gratification, no control. And the fear of many people who teach in schools is that this is what we are teaching our disaffected teens - that you can do as you like. Sanctions won't be applied. Behave as badly as you like, do what you feel like - swear at staff, make threats. We'll keep speaking kindly to you, we'll keep bending over backwards and offering you rewards, or special dispensations. You can have a Time Out card to walk out of lessons if you need it. Or you can just go to the lessons you like. The police have the same frustrations - speaking politely to teenage scum who are swearing at them, vandalising things, getting away with drugs possession etc. If we can't sort out discipline in schools and we let far too many pupils get away with doing as they feel like then what sort of a society will we have in the future? One where everyone does just as they feel like? Lord of the Flies......
     
  12. RaymondSoltysek

    RaymondSoltysek New commenter

    Then we agree that Mike is wrong when he says pupils are
    "rioting"in classrooms "up and down the country".
    That is ALL I have questioned. So why do you agree with HIM and tell
    me I don't know what I'm talking about?

    I do NOT deny that bad behaviour exists; I teach student teachers
    how to cope with it, so it would be nonsensical of me to say it
    doesn't exist. Therefore, Mr L calling me a "denialist"
    is absolutely incorrect. But of course, why actually think
    about what someone is saying when an easy stereotype comes to mind?

    What I DO deny is that schools and the vast majority of children
    in them can be characterised by the impressions we have seen
    expressed by some posters recently: that is, that pupils generally
    and as a matter of course
    "riot", that they throw acid,
    that they urinate on teachers' desks, that they stab people, that
    they murder teachers. THESE are the views I disagree
    with, THESE are the views that I think cause unnecessary damage to
    teachers' morale.

    To allow this Chicken Little perspective to thrive is to say out
    loud and in public that schools are, in Mike's words, "diabolical"
    places. They are not. The vast majority of nice kids we
    work with deserve better than that. Yes, we need to deal with
    those who behave badly, but to allow the way we view them and
    interact with them to be defined by the tiny majority who even
    remotely approach the kind of behaviour that Mike says is common
    every day “up and down the land” is preposterous and damaging to
    the profession and to the relationships we have in classes.

    Of course, though, because I “don’t work in schools” and
    because I am a “so-called expert”, it is easier for people like
    you to have a gratuitous pop at me and agree with the ranting ravings
    of the Mikes of this world. Well, good for you.
     
  13. Raymond I agree with your point about extreme behaviour and as someone who believes there is a behaviour crisis in our secondary schools implore like minded posters to have a sense of perspective about the issues.
    I think our differences revolve around the level to which classroom teachers in tough schools can reasonably be expected to control the behaviour of students. I think tough schools are tough because their pastoral systems are not working and anyone with the power to do anything about it cannot or will not do so. If one were to argue that good teachers could still teach good lessons in the absence of a support structure then I'd say one either has low standards or is in denial of how tough teaching in difficult schools can be.

     
  14. RaymondSoltysek

    RaymondSoltysek New commenter

    I am not sure anyone would argue this. Certainly not me.
    That is not to say that good teachers who have the right training, the right philosophy, the right principles, the right perspective about their pupils, who work hard to build relationships with their pupils won't teach better lessons, even in the absence of a good support system, than those teachers who treat every child with fear and loathing.

     
  15. jmntsp

    jmntsp New commenter

    I'm sorry - but in all my many years of teaching I've never met a SINGLE teacher who treated EVERY child with fear and loathing! What type of schools are you going into????


    I'm sorry you feel that I was having a 'gratuitous pop' at you. I wasn't. I was merely pointing out that in my opinion observing 70 lessons in a year, ie, a couple of weeks worth of lessons, meant that you didn't get a particularly accurate picture of behaviour in schools. I was also explaining why, as an observer, you immediately changed the dynamics of behaviour anyway. Perhaps if you didn't pontificate as an 'expert' in such matters people wouldn't challenge your opinions? Or qualifications to do so.
     
  16. YesMrBronson

    YesMrBronson New commenter

    You've repeatedly denied the scale of the behaviour crisis in schools.
    He didn't say that as indicated by your open quotes, close quotes, open again...
    He said "potentially rioting pupils". This was possibly an exaggeration or possibly not. Who would have expected the behaviour we saw in our city centres this month? Perhaps things are different in Scotland Ray - there was no rioting there. Though he mentioned Britain, the two cities he cited were specifically in England. Do you visit English schools?
     
  17. YesMrBronson

    YesMrBronson New commenter

     
  18. RaymondSoltysek

    RaymondSoltysek New commenter

    <a name="hotword6">[/URL]<a name="hotword5">[/URL]<a name="hotword4">[/URL]<a name="hotword3">[/URL]<a name="hotword2">[/URL]<a name="hotword1">[/URL]<a name="hotword">[/URL]
    To "pontificate" is to "<font color="#333333">speak</font>
    in <font color="#333333">a</font>
    pompous <font color="#333333">or</font>
    dogmatic <font color="#333333">manner</font>".
    I think if you read Mike's posts, the language is most certainly the
    epitome of pomposity and dogma; and yet you agree with him.


    I take it, then, that when you say I "pontificate",
    you actually mean that I am simply expressing views with which you do
    not agree. If that is the basis on which you question people's
    qualifications to comment, then, as I say, good for you.



     
  19. RaymondSoltysek

    RaymondSoltysek New commenter

    In a post which has been deleted, Mr B, Mike claimed that
    children are already "rioting" in classrooms. His position
    changed from being fearful that rioting would occur in September to
    claiming that rioting was already happening A pity you don't
    have access to a post the moderators found offensive.


    And yes, I do visit English schools - I am an external examiner
    for two English universities.



     
  20. YesMrBronson

    YesMrBronson New commenter

    Eh? Schools and universities are different. Have I misunderstood?
    You're correct that I haven't seen that post. I have not seen rioting in classrooms yet. I think it's a shame we've (me included) been sidetracked by the 'rioting' comment when we ought to be discussing the dreadful figures Mike presented.
     

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