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
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Life and Style
Suited and booted in the Lanvin show at the Paris menswear collections
fashionParis Fashion Week
Arts and Entertainment
Kara Tointon and Jeremy Piven star in Mr Selfridge
tvActress Kara Tointon on what to expect from Series 3
Voices
Winston Churchill, then prime minister, outside No 10 in June 1943
voicesA C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
News
An asteroid is set to pass so close to Earth it will be visible with binoculars
news
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has spoken about the lack of opportunities for black British actors in the UK
film
News
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

Old Royal Naval College: ORNC Visitor Experience Volunteer

Unpaid voluntary work: Old Royal Naval College: Join our team of friendly volu...

Recruitment Genius: Nursery Practitioner - Faringdon

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: We currently have an opportunity for you to jo...

Ashdown Group: Junior Developer - Cirencester - £29,000

£25000 - £29000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group have be...

Recruitment Genius: Primary School Sports Coach

£16000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Calling all talented Level 2 qu...

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project