Teachers blame poor parenting for increased chaos in the classrooms

Teachers tell of a sharp rise in disruptive behaviour – including attacks – by pupils

Parents are to blame for a rising tide of disruptive behaviour in schools because they fail to lay down the law at home, according to a new survey out today.

The survey of more than 800 teachers by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers revealed a rise in the number of pupils with emotional, behavioural or mental health issues over the past five years – which had led to deteriorating standards of discipline in schools and colleges.

Nearly four out of five teachers (79 per cent) who responded pinned the blame on a lack of boundaries being placed on pupils while at home.

One teacher in a primary academy in Kent said she had been faced with "the most challenging reception pupil I have encountered in 20 years of teaching".

"He did not comply with a single instruction – even to sit on a mat for a story," she added. "His mum would not accept that his behaviour was different to the other children's."

Mary Bousted, general secretary of the ATL, said: "Teachers and support staff are suffering a backlash from deteriorating standards of behaviour. They are frequently on the receiving end of children's frustration and unhappiness and have to deal with the fallout from parents failing to set boundaries and family breakdowns."

Delegates to the ATL conference, which opens in Liverpool tomorrow, will draw attention to a health and safety report that referred to a "continuing trend of intentional injury through challenging behaviour".

Of the 844 staff answering the survey, 62 per cent thought the number of children with emotional, behavioural and mental health issues had grown in the past two years – and 56 per cent said it was worse than five years ago.

Nine out of 10 staff said they had to deal with at least one case of a challenging or disruptive pupil during the past year – 40 had been physically hurt as a result of an attack, 67 had visited the doctor and 38 needed to take time off work.

A teacher at a Cheshire primary school said: "I have been kicked in the head, spat at, called disgusting names, told to fuck off, had the classroom trashed regularly and items thrown around. We accept children who are excluded from other schools, so they come to us with extreme behaviour issues."

Teachers also talked of being "cyber-bullied" by their pupils with one male secondary teacher from Staffordshire saying: "Pupils created a pornographic Photoshop image of me."

Another said a colleague had had a Twitter account set up about him called "Paedo ******" [the man's name] which invited others to comment on him and his sexual orientation.

A secondary school teacher in Rhondda Cynon Taf in Wales said: "I'm extremely concerned by the increase in mental health issues such as depression and self-harm. I'm alarmed by the lack of expert support made available for adolescents."

Dr Bousted added: "The huge funding cuts to local services mean schools often have to deal with children's problems without any help.

"Schools need to give their staff regular training so they know how to work with students with behavioural and mental health issues and have confidence in tackling pupils with challenging behaviour."

Tomorrow's conference will kick off two weeks of teaching union conferences where the spotlight will be on strike action over pay and pension curbs and cuts to education funding. The two bigger unions, the National Union of Teachers and National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers, start their conferences on Good Friday.

Both are expected to endorse their unions' declaration of a rolling programme of strike action – starting with regional strikes in June and building up to a one-day national stoppage before Christmas.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
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

Guru Careers: Solutions Consultant

£30 - 40k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Solutions Consultan...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£30 - 35k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

Ashdown Group: Systems Engineer - Linux - Central London

£40000 - £48000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Systems Engineer - Linux ...

Ashdown Group: Linux Systems Administrator - Windows, Linux - Central London

£40000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Linux Systems Administrat...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before