Teachers subjected to ‘derogatory sexualised’ terms in the classroom, union conference told

Teachers are being subjected to “derogatory sexualised” terms, as well as violence and threats by pupils in the classroom, a union conference has been told.

They have witnessed a “deterioration” in pupil behaviour over recent years, with many staff “struggling alone” with extreme cases in the classroom, the NASUWT union’s annual conference heard.

A motion passed at the conference condemned schools and colleges who claim that “unacceptable” pupil behaviour is just “part of the job”.

It also noted that teachers are often left with no access to appropriate support as “many school and college leaders do not receive adequate training” in how to deal with challenging student behaviour.

Wendy Exton, a member of the union’s executive, said: “We need to reclaim our classrooms, but we cannot do it alone.

“Today, we have to deal with many of society’s problems in schools, issues with drugs and violence, knife crime, county lines that spill over into our classrooms. These crimes often go unreported as schools are afraid of the repercussions.”

Ms Exton said a culture had emerged where any blame for poor behaviour is taken away from the student and a variety of excuses are made – from “living on a council estate to trauma and even lack of tobacco”.

She added: “Today’s behaviour directed to us as teachers include not only vile language, but derogatory sexualised terms, threats to ourselves and our families, and indeed, violence itself.

“In classrooms, many staff are struggling alone with extreme behaviours,” Ms Exton added.

A survey of more than 4,700 NASUWT members found that 38 per cent have been subjected to verbal abuse from students in the past year, while 10 per cent have received threats of physical violence from pupils during the same period.

The poll found that 6 per cent of teachers have been subjected to physical violence by pupils in the last year.

Delegates voted for the executive to lobby employers and governments to ensure that teachers and headteachers receive appropriate training on behaviour management issues.

Dr Patrick Roach, NASUWT general secretary, said: “The NASUWT is unequivocal that no teacher should be expected to put up with any form of verbal or physical abuse, whether in the classroom or online.”

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