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Teachers: Crimes of Violence

Volume 491: debated on Wednesday 22 April 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what recent assessment he has made of the effects of levels of violence and intimidation from pupils towards teachers; and what steps the Government is taking to reduce these levels. (264510)

Any violence against school staff is totally unacceptable.

We do not collect data specifically on levels of violence and intimidation from pupils towards teachers, but do regularly collect data on the number of permanent exclusions for physical assault on an adult and verbal abuse/threatening behaviour against an adult.

In 2006/07, there were 8,560 fixed period and 680 permanent exclusions in state funded secondary schools for physical assault on an adult, and 81,770 fixed period and 780 permanent exclusions were for verbal abuse/threatening behaviour against an adult. This is in a system with about 7 million pupils and about 750,000 staff. These figures suggest that schools are taking a firm line on violence, and that the overwhelming majority of schools are orderly places.

In April, we plan to launch guidance on preventing and tackling the cyberbullying of school staff. We are also promoting development of Safer School Partnerships with the police and other agencies and have made clear that we want these to become the norm rather than the exception in schools.

We are also planning to introduce a new duty on schools in Regulations to record all incidents of physical or verbal abuse towards school staff. This new duty will encourage more widespread and effective reporting, appropriate responses and prevention work. It will also send out a clear message to school staff that the issue will be taken seriously and acted upon. The duty will be included in wider Regulations which, subject to successful passage through Parliament, will require schools to record incidents of bullying among pupils. We are planning to launch a full public consultation on draft Regulations this summer.