Figures recently released by the Department of Education indicate that teachers and pupils are facing more classroom violence on a daily basis throughout the UK. Figures regarding classroom violence/misbehaviour released in July 2012 cover the academic calendar of 2010 to 2011. They show that:
1. 90 children of primary school age were sent home each school day during 2010 to 2011 for some form of violence in the classroom – be it against a teacher or another pupil. The data showed that there were more assaults on teachers each day in primary schools than in secondary schools: 42 in primary compared to 32 in secondary schools.
2. Nearly 17,000 under 11’s were suspended for some form of violent action.
3. Nearly 300 primary aged children were permanently excluded (expelled) from their school for violence.
4. The regions where classroom violence has got worse over the time covered by the data are in some of the UK’s most affluent areas.
5. 10,000 primary aged children were suspended for “persistent disruption” during lessons.
6. 6,390 children of primary age were suspended for “verbal abuse”.
7. Other suspensions of primary-aged children involved “racial abuse, sexual misconduct, theft, drugs or alcohol offences and damage to property”.
9. There were 3010 exclusions for “sexual misconduct” from 2010 to 2012. Jon Brown from the NSPCC stated that:
“The figures show a worrying trend of schools having to suspend or exclude a significant number of pupils for sexual misconduct. We are concerned that some young people are forming unhealthy attitudes to sex. We know from talking to them that there is increasing pressure to engage in risky behaviour and access to hard core videos over the internet is now easier than ever. There has been a ‘normalising’ of risky sexual activity.”
Psychologist Dr Tanya Byron claims that parents are becoming too afraid to discipline their children for fear of repercussions and that means that such children grow up in a household where they have no obvious rules to follow and this carries on into primary school. Byron claims that too many parents are trying to be “friend-parents” who are willing to negotiate aspects of child behaviour within a household as opposed to enforcing it. Therefore when a child gets to primary school and faces being told what to do by a teacher, they are in an environment they have never experienced and react accordingly as they are no longer in an environment where they can negotiate.
A survey by the teaching union the NASUWT done in 2012 showed that two-thirds of teachers in that union blame parents for failing to set their own children certain accepted standards of behaviour such as getting them to school on time and properly equipping them. The National Association of Head Teachers also stated that teachers should expect some parents to do more and that their parental responsibility “did not end at the school gates”.