‘Kicked, hit, slapped and bitten’ – Quarter of primary school teachers feel unsafe in class – survey

Radio NZ News 26 June 2020
Family First Comment: “We’re seeing young people who are exhibiting behaviours that are violent, we’re seeing young people melt down in classrooms, we’re seeing young people that are disrupting other students around them and in some instances we’re seeing teachers and other students who are being hurt physically hurt and of course emotionally harmed by actions in classrooms.”

Rising violence in primary schools has reached the point where one-in-four teachers feel unsafe in their own classroom – double the figure three years earlier, a national survey shows.

The Council for Educational Research study found 24 percent of primary teachers reported sometimes feeling unsafe in their classrooms last year, up from 12 percent in 2016, while 1 percent often felt unsafe, the same figure as 2016.

In addition, 23 percent felt unsafe in their school grounds occasionally last year, up from 11 percent in 2016, and 2 percent frequently felt unsafe, up from 1 percent.

The report said 25 percent of teachers often experienced serious disruption from children in their classroom, up from 17 percent in 2016, most teachers (77 percent) dealt with at least one incident of extreme behaviour last year, and most (69 percent) wanted more help to manage such behaviour.

It said teachers in lower decile schools were more likely to experience disruption, but there were no decile-based differences for feeling unsafe.

The survey, which runs every three years, found children’s wellbeing and mental health was one of the top problems for primary school principals, alongside IT costs but behind funding and the amount that is expected to schools.

The results were based on survey responses from 145 principals, 620 teachers, 126 school trustees, and 395 parents in 2019. NZCER said the response rate was the lowest since the surveys began in 1989 and the maximum margin of error for principals’ responses was 8.1 percent and 3.9 percent for teachers’ responses.
READ MORE: https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/419869/kicked-hit-slapped-and-bitten-quarter-of-primary-school-teachers-feel-unsafe-in-class-survey