GMB call on Swindon Council to introduce zero tolerance towards violence in schools
GMB, the trade union for school support staff in Swindon, recently carried out a snapshot survey of school staff in Swindon that shows 42% of them have experienced violence from pupils in the last 18 months.
The snapshot survey also showed that in mainstream schools 25% had been spat at and 46% had suffered verbal abuse. In special schools for pupils who need additional support, 94% of staff had suffered violence.
GMB initiated a survey of school support staff after a GMB member had their finger dislocated by an 8 year old pupil and felt the school’s response was inadequate.
GMB will be handing in a report at 1pm on Friday 24 February to Swindon Borough Council at:
There will be around 20 GMB members with placards.
GMB is meeting with Swindon Borough Council on 1st March 2017 to discuss how safety policies can be improved.
Andy Newman, GMB branch secretary said, “we are calling on Swindon Borough Council, and school academies in the town, to introduce a zero tolerance policy to prevent violence against school staff. We need to prevent this rising tide of violence in the interest of staff safety, and to provide an atmosphere in schools conducive to learning.
“We are extremely concerned that 25% of staff are afraid or apprehensive at work, but when they report incidents or concerns to schools management, half of our members report that their response is inadequate.
“We are also concerned that a number of pupils who would be better educated in special schools are now in mainstream schools, which is not fair to them, and not fair to other pupils and staff. Of our members in mainstream schools, 92% report that there are pupils in the school who they feel need to be in a special school.”
Contact: Andy Newman 0754 0859 227 / firstname.lastname@example.org or Carole Vallelly 07912 181476 / email@example.com
Notes to editors
1) GMB recently conducted a survey of school support staff in Swindon. This group includes teaching assistants, caretakers, office staff, bursars, librarians and cleaners.
42% report they have experienced violence in the last 18 months, 25% have been spat at, and 46% have suffered verbal abuse. Only 42% of staff say they have experienced no incidents in special schools, 94% report they have experienced violence in the last 18 months, 65% have been spat at, and 76% have suffered verbal abuse. Only 6% of staff say they have experienced no incidents across all schools, 66% report that they have witnessed violence against other staff, 28% have witnessed staff being spat at, and 56% have witnessed verbal abuse. Only 25% have witnessed no incidents of staff in mainstream schools, 92% of support staff report that there are pupils in the school who they feel need to be in a special school 25% of staff in Swindon schools report that they are sometimes afraid or apprehensive at work; and 16% of staff have reported that they are afraid to management. When incidents have been reported to management, only 50% of staff feel that they are happy with the response. Where staff have reported that they are afraid or apprehensive to management, only 49% have been satisfied with the response.
GMB only surveyed school support staff, but anecdotal evidence suggests that there are more incidents against support staff than against teachers, this may partly be because of perceived lower status in the school, but also because it is typically school support staff required to deal with pupils behaving aggressively.
2) Details of the survey: The survey was initiated after a GMB member had their finger dislocated by an year old, and GMB felt that the school’s response was inadequate.
GMB is the largest union in Swindon for school support staff. The survey was conducted by hard copy and through Survey Monkey, a professional on-line survey tool. The survey achieved a 27% response rate, with 86% of those responding being GMB members. 75% responded on-line, and 25% by returning a hard copy. There was no significant difference in the results between Academies and Swindon Borough Council schools.