Concern as attacks on teachers surge upwards

A national table puts Herts among the highest in the country for the number of attacks on teachers and school staff over the last two years.

The county comes in at number six in a table ranking the number of violent incidents in 70 local education authority areas across England and Wales.

Over the two-year period, from 2011, there were no fewer than 701 recorded attacks.

And worryingly the figure for 2012/13 jumped by 99 – from 301 during the previous year to 400.

The highest number of assaults were suffered by staff working within schools for children with special needs with 283 attacks during 2012/13 and 191 during the previous year.

But county officials said this week that comparing bald statistics does not reflect the full picture.

Herts County Council spokesman Andrew Dawson said: “Hertfordshire is one of the largest local authority areas, so it is not surprising that the number of incidents is higher than in other, smaller, counties.

“Comparing bald statistics also does not take into account the fact that there is increased awareness and better systems in place for reporting incidents.

“All schools have clear policies in place enabling them to manage both positive and negative behaviours in a consistent and effective way.

“Herts County Council, as the local education authority, provides support when needed in dealing with any behavioural issues.”

The figures, released under a Freedom of Information request, show that there were 95 attacks in primary schools over the last year, and 94 during the previous year.

Of these the majority were physical and five of last year’s incidents involved a weapon, compared with three during 2011/12.

In secondary schools there were just two reported attacks during both periods.

At education support centres there were a total of three attacks during 2011/12, but this rocketed to 15 during 2012/13.

And 13 of these incidents involved physical assault, with two involving a weapon.

In other parts of the country, reports of incidents include a nursery school teacher being smacked, kicked and head butted by a child and a teacher being stabbed in the arm with a pencil.

The highest number of attacks reported was in Hampshire with 3,709 incidents over the two-year period.

This was followed by Leeds where 3,122 were recorded, and Southampton, which reported a total of 901 incidents.