MORE than a quarter of teachers – 27 per cent – in the south west are experiencing physical violence from pupils at least once a week or more, a survey by the NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union, has found.

In addition, 6 per cent stated they were attacked on a daily basis.

The survey found that nearly nine in 10 (88 per cent) have suffered physical or verbal abuse from pupils over the last 12 months; 87 per cent of teachers have been sworn at, while four in 10 (40 per cent) have been verbally threatened.

More than a third (35 per cent) of teachers have been hit, punched or kicked and 40 per cent have been shoved or barged; 11 per cent have been spat at and four per cent have been head-butted. More than a quarter (30 per cent) reported having had their property damaged.

Nearly half (47 per cent) experienced anxiety, depression or stress, and nearly eight in ten (78 per cent) say the abuse from pupils has affected their morale and enthusiasm for their job.

Two-thirds of teachers (69 per cent) do not feel they have the resources or support to meet the behavioural needs of all the pupils they teach.

The physical and verbal abuse from pupils has driven over half (51 per cent) of teachers to seriously consider leaving the profession or they are planning to leave teaching shortly.

Nearly half (47 per cent) of teachers report being made to feel that they are to blame by their school for issues regarding poor pupil behaviour, while 45 per cent say the culture in their school is that verbal and physical abuse is part of the job and teachers should expect this behaviour.

Only six in 10 teachers (58 per cent) reported all of the incidents of abuse to their managers, with 40 per cent reporting some or most of the incidents. When asked for the reasons behind not reporting all of the occurrences, nearly two-thirds (60 per cent) felt nothing would be done.

Less than a fifth of teachers (18 per cent) felt that when incidents were reported, the pupil or pupils were dealt with appropriately; four per cent stated that no action was taken by the school to tackle the perpetrators.

Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, said: “No teacher should ever have to go to work with the expectation of being verbally or physically abused, but it is clear from this survey that for too many teachers this is the day-to-day reality.

“Pupil indiscipline is now second only to workload in teachers’ concern about their job and is a contributory factor to the teacher recruitment and retention crisis.

“It is simply unacceptable that employers are failing in their legal duty of care to provide a safe working environment.

“Why is it that hospitals, job centres, railway stations and many other workplaces are now littered with posters in which employers make clear that abuse of staff will not be tolerated and yet the most teachers get is fault finding and blame.

“The school system is riven with poor and unacceptable employment practices that are putting teachers at risk and ultimately driving them out of the profession.

“Teachers provide one of the most important public services and they deserve better.”