30/03/2012 08:06 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Poor Parenting Blamed For Rise In Classroom Violence

Teenager and teacher Rex Features

Poor parenting and family breakdowns have been blamed for the rise in violent and bad behaviour in UK schools.

A survey conducted by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers found that a third of teachers had dealt with violence like pushing, punching or kicking in the classroom this year.

The union surveyed 814 teachers and support staff working in UK schools, and ATL head Mary Bousted said the findings revealed that some pupils had a 'total disregard' for school rules.

She said bad behaviour was just as likely to come from 'overindulged middle class' pupils as disadvantaged ones.

More than half of the teachers polled said they felt behaviour had worsened in the past five years, with one teaching assistant at a state primary in England revealing that a pupil 'hit me in the back totally unexpectedly because I asked her to put a book away. I was so winded and hurt that I couldn't carry on that day.'

Another teacher told how a female student at a school in Wales threatened to 'kick the smile off my face' in front of the whole class.

Three quarters of the teachers surveyed said that they felt the root cause of bad behaviour was a lack of positive role models at home.

Nearly two-thirds (62.7 said pupils behaved badly to get attention from their classmates, with 42% citing neglect at home as a factor. "

Dr Bousted told the BBC: "A minority of children are very aware of their rights, have a total disregard for school rules and are rather less aware of their responsibility for their own learning and how to show respect to staff and other students.

"This can apply as much to overindulged middle class children as those from challenging families.

"It is not surprising to see that poor behaviour is often attributed to problems at home."

A Department for Education spokesman said they wanted to put teachers 'back in control' of their classrooms, saying: "Unless there is good behaviour in schools, teachers cannot teach and students cannot learn."

What do you think?
Do teachers have enough powers to control their students?
Should parents be held more accountable for their children's bad behaviour?