Well given this title, you might think I’m reporting on another rogue teacher, as I seem to do find a lot of those.
Actually, you’d be wrong. This one is actually about new figures about abuse not by teachers, but by children, some of which are as young as four years old! In one instance, a nursery school teacher was reportedly smacked, kicked and headbutted by a child in Walsall, West Midlands. Elsewhere, it is claimed a pupil punched and headbutted a staff member after grabbing them by the neck in Houndslow, West London. One teacher in Derby was stabbed in the arm with a pencil, according to reports. The Sun on Sunday has reported that teachers have been scratched, kicked and even bitten by children they were attempting to control.
Figures published by the newspaper suggested that children as young as four have violently assaulted teachers 21,000 times in the past two years. On average, there are 55 assaults in school per day.
In the 2011/12 academic year there were 10,000 attacks in classrooms while in 2012/13 there were 10,750. The highest number of attacks were in Hampshire – which saw 3709 over the two years. The area was followed by Leeds with 3,122 and then Southampton with 901. Other areas in the top ten most violent areas included Milton Keynes, Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire. The figures were obtained from 70 local authorities in England and Wales by the newspaper via a Freedom of Information Act.
A Department for Education spokesman said: ‘Teachers have more power than ever to maintain discipline.’
I find the government comment quite bizarre. If I’m brutally honest, I would look to the parents and consider why the child is behaving in that way. It is no secret that children take parents as a role model more often than not, given they are the first adult caregivers that children encounter in the world (if you discount the midwives etc). I know from experience I used to replicate aggressive behaviours that those who called themselves my parents used to use at school all the time. Took me forever to realise that what I was doing was wrong. There is only so much a teacher can do in a classroom of 30 children that they see for a few hours a day, 5 days a week for 7 or 8 months of the year when you subtract holidays. Not everything is down to them.