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More than half of school support staff suffer violence at work, report finds

Ellen Manning
Yahoo News UK
School support staff are undergoing violence at work, including stabbings, attempted strangulation and being spat at, punched, bitten or having their hair cut off, a new report has found (Picture: PA)

More than half of school support staff have suffered some kind of violence at work, with assaults including stabbings and attempted strangulation, a new report has revealed.

The GMB union said in one case a pregnant teaching assistant suffered a miscarriage after being kicked in the stomach, while other incidents include staff being spat at, punched, bitten or having their hair cut off.

A survey of almost 4,800 school support workers revealed a catalogue of violent incidents involving children as young as eight – as well as threats from parents.

Just over half said they had experienced violence at work, with more than 770 saying they were attacked every week.

Karen Leonard, GMB national officer, said: “These stories from the frontline by GMB’s school staff members are truly disturbing. They can face a litany of violence that would constitute criminal offences in other jobs.

“No-one should be physically threatened at work. Violence from parents in particular is completely inexcusable.”

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“School support staff love their jobs, love the kids and want to carry on doing their best for the children.

“All they ask is their school backs them up when it does happen – and takes the common-sense steps needed to protect them.”

Violence – some of the incidents even involved parents, the report found (Picture: PA)

She said throughout this year the GMB had been asking schools to sign up to its code of conduct to ensure attacks on members were dealt with properly.

School standards minister Nick Gibb said: “Teachers and school staff have a right to feel safe in the workplace and any form of violence towards them is completely unacceptable.

“We have given schools the powers they need to deal with harassment of staff, and we expect them to have procedures in place to support staff dealing with issues like this.”

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