Addressing the Challenges: Understanding the Increase in Violent Incidents Involving Teachers in the UK

Recent discussions among teachers and the head teacher’s union have highlighted concerns about increasing violent incidents in schools, including discussions around safety measures. Here, we look to explore this in more detail.

Key Statistics:

  • There has been a 37% increase in incidents involving teachers over the past five years.
  • Recorded cases involving school staff exceed 5000.
  • About 24% of teachers report facing such incidents weekly.
  • Verbal threats are reported by 4 in 10 teachers
  • Approximately 102k students in England were excluded or suspended due to physical incidents.

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Understanding the Causes:

  • Societal Influences: Shifts in societal norms and increased exposure to various media may affect respect towards authority figures, including teachers.
  • Mental Health: The well-being of both students and teachers is crucial. Stressful environments can lead to heightened emotions.
  • Support Systems: The need for improved conflict resolution training, mental health resources and wellbeing support initiatives is evident.
  • Classroom Dynamics: Challenges in managing larger classrooms can contribute to these issues.
  • Beyond Physical Impact: The emotional repercussions for educators can be profound, potentially leading to anxiety and professional burnout.

In addressing the concerns around safety in schools, it’s crucial to consider the effectiveness of different approaches. Overly securitised measures, such as a heightened police presence in schools, are not always known to be effective. According to the Youth Endowment Fund’s research into police in schools, they suggest these methods may not yield the desired outcomes in creating safer environments for young people and the teaching and support team.

Our approach at the Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Foundation takes a different path – one of engagement, dialogue, and understanding. We focus on helping young people and communities explore their identities and sense of belonging. Our training in conflict resolution enables individuals to address disputes constructively. Moreover, by fostering leadership and agency among young people, we contribute to building more inclusive and sustainable solutions to the challenges that educators face.

This approach aligns with the understanding that addressing root social issues is as important as tackling immediate safety concerns. By engaging with young people, teachers, and the wider community in a meaningful way, we not only address the symptoms of the problems but also work towards resolving the underlying causes. It’s a method that not only enhances safety but also promotes personal growth and community cohesion.

For more details on the effectiveness of different approaches in school safety, the Youth Endowment Fund’s toolkit offers valuable insights and can be accessed here.

 Addressing the Issue:

  • Training: Enhancing teachers’ skills and confidence in conflict resolution and trauma-informed approaches.
  • Support: Prioritising mental health and wellbeing support for all school community members.
  • Community Engagement: Strengthening school-family connections can help address underlying causes.

The Foundation’s Role:

At the Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Foundation, we use non-formal education to foster critical thinking, emotional awareness, and conflict management skills. Our approach aims to mitigate factors like social isolation, promoting empathy and healthy communication.

We recognise the importance of equipping teachers with the necessary skills and confidence to handle challenging situations in the classroom. Our focus is on providing training that enhances teachers’ abilities in conflict resolution and trauma-informed approaches. This training is vital in helping teachers manage classroom dynamics effectively and support students who may be facing personal challenges. By empowering educators with these skills, we aim to create a safer and more supportive learning environment for both students and teachers.

Community Cohesion Efforts: We work on building bridges within communities to address issues like gender-based violence, enhancing understanding and social bonds.

Promoting Positive Development: Our efforts extend to addressing factors like inequality and limited education opportunities. We advocate for inclusivity and equal opportunities in various community settings.

By tackling these issues at their roots and fostering a culture of respect and understanding, we aim to contribute to safer and more inclusive educational environments. Our work, in collaboration with other stakeholders, is crucial in creating a society that values the rights and dignity of every individual.

To find out how you can work with us contact or call us on 01925 571231.

Sources and references:


NASUWT Teachers Union