Teacher Attacks: FOI Reveals 130 Staff Attacked By Pupils In Cornwall

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Teacher Attacks Have Been Revealed By An FOI Request (File Picture)
Teacher Attacks Have Been Revealed By An FOI Request (File Picture)

Nearly 130 primary school teachers have been attacked in the past three years, a freedom of information request has revealed.

The figures, released by Cornwall Council, show staff were attacked by primary school pupils aged between four and 11. Of those attacked, 36 needed medical treatment.

Weapons used against the teachers were items "all picked up from [the child's] surroundings", the FOI, published today, discloses. They included pencils, metal screws, throwing chairs and using packaging as a saw on teachers' arms.

Out of the 128 assaults, 113 were on female teachers, while 119 of the assaults were physical. Despite the figures, the council said schools in Cornwall were mostly "well ordered".

A spokesperson for the council's children services department said the area had a "strong record of good behaviour" in its schools.

"Ofsted reports show the significant majority of schools in Cornwall have been rated as either good or outstanding in this respect.

"Primary schools in Cornwall are calm and effective places of learning with good working relationships between children and adults."

The council insisted many of the reported incidents are "relatively minor in nature" and do not result in "formal exclusion of the child".

"We no not have any significant concerns over this issue. Headteachers in Cornwall feel secure with the level of legal rights which they and their teaching staff have to manage discipline in the classroom."

But National Association of Head Teacher official Ian Bruce told the BBC: "I have known a child pick a chair up and threaten people and we have had to empty a classroom, but we always look to defuse the situation."

"With some of the very young ones when they arrive sometimes they don't want to do things.

Bruce, also the head of a local primary school in Cornwall, added: "They can injure staff, not deliberately I would hasten to add. If you're trying to assist you can get scratched and so on."

Christine Blower, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers said any deliberate assault was a "serious concern" but added they were not "an everyday feature of life in school".

"Classrooms are generally orderly and calm environments. It is important that good pupil behaviour is promoted and rewarded, and that this is maintained in every school so that teaching and learning can take place in a safe environment conducive to teaching and learning."