Women teachers ‘are scared to walk school corridors’

Female teachers worry about walking corridors alone, union leaders warned as the schools sex scandal widened last night.

The NASUWT, which has 314,000 members in both private and state schools, said many women staff have reported sex asCsaults and harassment by male pupils.

It comes after more than 12,000 testimonies were collated by the Everyone’s Invited website detailing sexual abuse of girls by male students across the country.

Female teachers worry about walking corridors alone, union leaders warned as the schools sex scandal widened last night (Stock image)

Female teachers worry about walking corridors alone, union leaders warned as the schools sex scandal widened last night (Stock image)

Female teachers worry about walking corridors alone, union leaders warned as the schools sex scandal widened last night (Stock image)

Female teachers have also been victims of unwanted advances and behaviour, including ‘upskirting’ and ‘down-blousing’ – where pupils secretly film under their clothes and circulate footage online.

Yesterday Dr Patrick Roach, general secretary of NASUWT, said female teachers are suffering from the same ‘sexist and misogynist behaviour’ as girls have complained of and even have to constantly ‘think about how they are dressed’ to ward off attacks. One teacher told the union her face was superimposed onto porn and then shared online widely.

Others have been inappropriately touched or been the subject of sexist name-calling and ‘derogatory language’ in class as well as online, Dr Roach said.

He told the union’s annual conference yesterday: ‘Misogyny and sexism are all too real, all too apparent – whether it’s on the streets… or in our schools. And [the question is] whether female teachers and female students can feel that they are safe to walk along the corridors without having to think about how they’re dressed or whether they’re walking alone and how they’re going to be treated by pupils.

‘No teacher should feel that, no student should feel that. And yet we do hear that teachers and students do.’ He said the problem was related to the Everyone’s Invited testimonies, with the abuse that female pupils suffer ‘impacting’ on teachers, and ‘vice versa’.

He said: ‘We are seeing… so-called banter, sexist name-calling, the use of derogatory terms – both in class and online – to talk about teachers, the posting of sexist comments on social media, the belittling of teachers because of their sex.’

He said the most ‘extreme’ behaviour included ‘cases of upskirting, down-blousing, inappropriate touching’, and it probably represented ‘the tip of the iceberg’.

A motion debated yesterday at the conference stated bullying and intimidation including ‘sexual harassment and misogyny’ is ‘prevalent’ in schools.

It said: ‘These behaviours in schools are damaging the professional status and mental health of teachers and driving committed teachers out of the profession.’ One NASUWT member who was up-skirted said: ‘It was a breach of trust and he was a pupil that I knew and trusted.

‘We felt totally violated by what he had done. That was a very difficult thing to try to get over.’

The motion, which was passed, resolves to ’empower all members to be able to quickly identify and challenge bullying and intimidation before such behaviour becomes endemic’.

Some have told the union they are often not taken seriously when they report abuse or that it is simply viewed as ‘boys’ banter’.

Dr Roach said school management needed to take more responsibility for pupils’ predatory behaviour. He added: ‘Something has got to change in which the voice of teachers and the voice of students is respected, is valued and listened to.’

A spokesman for the Department for Education said: ‘In no circumstances should teachers be subjected to abuse simply for doing their jobs.’

They added that it plans to improve discipline in schools through a £10million behaviour hubs programme.

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