Two-thirds of teachers in the UK have been physically or verbally assaulted in the past year, with 17% threatened in incidents involving weapons, according to new research.
Almost all teachers (99%) said they had been verbally abused by their pupils in the past year, with 74% claiming it happened at least once every two or three weeks.
Researchers from University of Leicester spin-out company, Perpetuity, undertook a survey of over 300 teachers, supplemented with interviews with other educational experts.
The study showed that pupils verbally or physically assaulted more men (73%) than women (62%) in the last year. In the more extreme cases this took the form of being punched, tripped or kicked.
Of the teachers who had been victimised, 17% had been threatened with a weapon by a pupil on at least one occasion and 3% of them claimed the threat had been followed through with the use of a knife or a gun in school.
Over 20% of teachers had been verbally or physically assaulted by a parent or guardian, with 6% falling victim to an intruder in the school.
The majority of teachers (57%) reported that poor pupil behaviour interfered with their ability to do their jobs.
Violence is seen as a “major problem for young people” by more than 80% of 11 to 16-year-olds, according to a survey for a children’s charity.
The NSPCC survey found that 42% of children had been hit, punched or kicked at secondary school.
Three-quarters had been bullied at school, while one in four had seen adults in the family being violent.
The charity wants Gordon Brown to use his first 100 days as prime minister to tackle violence against children.
According to the survey, large number of UK youngsters were witnesses to violence, with 59% saying they had seen violence or bullying between young people on the street.
Government statistics published today show that 221 injuries had been reported by teachers as a result of violent attacks on school staff during 2005-06.
If spread out across the school year this equates to at least one incident for every school day.
The Liberal Democrat education spokeswoman, Sarah Teather, said pupils and their parents must be prosecuted for assaulting teachers.
“These chilling figures reveal the shocking levels of violence in schools,” she said.
“Every few years a particularly tragic case makes the news, but the hidden story is that a teacher in England falls victim to a serious assault every single working day.
The parents of Damilola Taylor, the 10-year-old schoolboy stabbed to death by street thugs barely older than himself, warned yesterday that Britain faced a crisis of violence by young people which was running out of control.Richard and Gloria Taylor spoke outside the Old Bailey after seeing two brothers jailed for eight years for their son’s manslaughter.
Richard and Gloria Taylor: ‘We must continue to be intolerant of violent behaviour, particularly among the young’
They said efforts by police and the Government to tackle the violence were “insufficient” and questioned whether the sentence was strong enough to deter other criminals. The killers — Ricky and Danny Preddie, now aged 19 and 18, but 13 and 12 at the time of the killing — will be sent to a young offenders’ institution, and could be back on the streets within three years.