Primary teachers 'most at risk of assault'

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The Independent Online

Primary school teachers are more than twice as likely to be assaulted by pupils than their colleagues in secondary schools, according to research published today.

A survey of more than 1,000 teachers showed that 48 per cent of those in primary schools had been assaulted physically, compared with 20 per cent at secondary level. The high rate of assaults in primary schools is attributed to children arriving unprepared for communicating or playing with their classmates. Many have spent their formative years in front of a television or computer screen, according to the general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, Mary Bousted.

"I hope nobody makes the comparison that it's not as bad being kicked by a seven-year-old as being hit by a 15-year-old," she said. "A seven-year-old can give quite a hefty kick.

"There is an increasing problem with some parents not getting their children to understand that the teacher must be obeyed."

A department head in an Essex state primary school told researchers: "I have had a threat to my life from a parent because I told a child to complete their homework."