Letter from the Education Editor: This shocking abuse of teachers should be taken seriously


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The Independent Online

As if teachers do not have enough to cope with, today we hear of a worrying rise in the amount of abuse levelled at them online – by both parents and pupils. In the case of children, the remedy is more obvious. Actions like posting homophobic and racist abuse should be followed by disciplinary action, and possibly even suspension. In the case of parents, it is probably trickier but, at the very least, social media networks should take such issues seriously.

All this, of course, follows our report yesterday that almost four in 10 teachers do not survive in the job for a year after qualifying (the majority do not even set foot in a classroom after qualifying).They are put off by what they see as the stultifying demands of the job – filling in forms to tick boxes and making sure demanding and sometimes overbearing targets are met before an inspection.

It seems to me that we cannot move quickly enough to end the “exam factory” syndrome and move on to a time where (as both the Education Secretary, Nicky Morgan, and her Labour shadow, Tristram Hunt, agree) schools concentrate more on building pupils’ character and developing their communication skills.

It needs to be said, though, that derogatory comments about teachers, such as calling them “the Blob” and enemies of promise” under Michael Gove’s reign as Education Secretary, probably did not help, not least in the matter of ensuring they have the respect they deserve from parents.

Thankfully, Ms Morgan has moved to build bridges since then. Let us hope that whoever is of Education Secretary after the election capitalises on that start.