Anger at pupils' exclusion brings brutal assaults on headteachers

Ten per cent of headteachers have been assaulted by a parent or carer during the past five years, according to figures to be disclosed later this week.

Most of the assaults took place on the school premises – often when the parents came to complain about a child being excluded from school. They include cases of heads being hit by chairs thrown by angry parents and one being subjected to "a serious kicking attack".

"I was badly bruised and had difficulty walking for a couple of days," he told researchers.

One female head has described how a parent had scratched the word "bitch" on her car. She said: "It wasn't an assault on me but it left me very, very shaken and traumatised. Police orders were required to protect the school from the parent."

The cases are reported in a survey of more than 500 heads to be published by the National Association of headteachers at its annual conference over this bank holiday weekend.

In an interview with The Independent today, Russell Hobby, general secretary of the NAHT, said the mantra of "parent power" repeated by successive Governments may have led them to believe they can have more of a say in the running of their school and be more aggressive in their demands.

"We may have excluded their child temporarily from school or sometimes banned them from being on the premises," he said.

"I'm not against parents having a real say in the way their schools are run but sometimes you have to make choices and take decisions that displease."

The figures come to light just as the Government has launched its own plans for a crackdown on bad behaviour in schools. However, the package concentrates on dealing with pupils giving greater powers to teachers to confiscate items such as mobile phones.

It also gives more power to heads over exclusion – allowing appeals panels against exclusion only to review cases rather than order youngsters be taken back into the classroom.

But it has little to say about what action to take against unruly parents although schools have been encouraged to get parents to sign up to good behaviour contracts in a bid to get both pupils and parents to recognise the disciplinary rules of the school.

Further cases from the survey include one head who said she had been "punched in the face, bitten, kicked, spat at, had a hand put down her T-shirt to grab her boobs and had her hair pulled".

Another said he had been struck repeatedly and "whipped with a coat". "A table was thrown at me," he said.

One former general secretary of the NAHT, David Hart, has called for heads to have the right to expel the children of violent parents from school. He said that he believed it was "perfectly proper" to expel a child once a threat had been made. He said: "The relationship between a family and a head has fundamentally broken down if violence is resorted to and that child deserves a second chance elsewhere."

At the time of his comments, the NAHT had dealt with 54 cases of violence and abuse against heads in a term. These included 10 threats of violence, five assaults, seven cases of verbal aggression and two parents having to be banned from school premises.

A spokeswoman from the Department for Education said: "We want to give parents a good choice of schools in their area. But this, of course, does not excuse aggressive behaviour towards school staff by a minority of parents.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

Recruitment Genius: Nursery Pre School Practitioner

£6 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Due to continued expansion, they are loo...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development & Relationship Manager

£45000 - £90000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Development & Relati...

Recruitment Genius: Personal Assistant - Startup

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Personal Assistant is require...

Guru Careers: Graduate Software Developer / Junior Developer

£20 - 28k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Graduate Software Develop...

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific