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Half School Staff Suffer Shocking Violence

Saturday, September 8, 2018


In one horrifying case a pregnant teaching assistant suffered a miscarriage after being kicked in the stomach by pupil, GMB survey reveals

More than half of school staff experience shocking violence at work – with more than 16% suffering attacks every week,  disturbing new GMB figures show.

Appalling assaults suffered by GMB members include stabbings, attempted strangulation and pupils trying to chop off a teaching assistant’s (TA’s) fingers with scissors.

In one horrifying case, a pregnant TA suffered a miscarriage after being kicked in the stomach.

Other members of staff have had faeces thrown at them, been spat at and had their hair cut off.

[see note 1 for more detailed case studies. Case study available for interview].

Parents have threatened school support staff, while school crossing patrol staff report cars being driven at them by angry motorists.

School support staff report terrible injuries from the attacks, including broken jaws, broken noses, knee replacements suspected heart attacks and broken necks.

GMB surveyed almost 5,000 school support staff.

More than 2,400 said they had experienced violence at work, with 778 saying they were attacked every week. [1]

Karen Leonard, GMB National Officer, said:

"These stories from the frontline by GMB’s school staff members are truly disturbing.

“They can face a litany of violence that would constitute criminal offences in other jobs.

“No-one should be physically threatened at work. Violence from parents in particular is completely inexcusable.

“School support staff love their jobs, love the kids and want to carry on doing their best for the children.

"All they ask is their school backs them up when it does happen - and takes the common-sense steps needed to protect them.

“Throughout this year we have been asking schools to sign up to GMB’s code of conduct to ensure attacks on members, when they happen, are dealt with properly."


Contact: GMB Press Office on 07958 156846 or at

Notes to Editors:

[1] GMB asked 4,784 school staff members:

‘How often do you experience violence/physical abuse at school? At least once per:’

Total respondents

Experience violence?











Here are selected responses:

·         Given concussion by a large 19 year old boy. Punched in the centre of the head.  Bitten on the back of my arm breaking the skin. Bitten through a fleece, jumper and t-shirt.

·         Have been punched (resulting in split lip and having teeth x-rayed), spat at (hitting me in the face), bitten and pinched (numerous times) and attempted at cutting my finger off with scissors.

·         I was pregnant and a child kicked me really hard I nearly fell down. After that incident I started bleeding and lost my baby. Fell into deep depression. Especially as the school did nothing to support me. I went back to work after work once I recovered from miscarriage.

·         I have had a child try to stab me in the neck with a pair of scissors.

·         I am punched, kicked, slapped, bitten, have things like chairs thrown at me

·         I have been kicked, scratched, stabbed in the leg with a sharp pencil, had my glasses broken by a child lashing out.

·         Kicking, punching, stabbing with pencil. Biting, hair pulling

·         Bite scratch kicks slaps punches pushed spat at

·         Had a piece of cement thrown at the back of my head.  Luckily I did not need medical treatment.

·         As a crossing warden egg thrown at me from a car. Numerous gestures and being sworn at by cars. Had a car driven at me

·         Kicked in the stomach by child , I was 6 months pregnant at the time.

·         Have been on receiving end of violence many times in my role as a TA (teaching assistant) including being punched in face and other parts of body many times. Kicks, including attempted kicks to privates. Spat at many times, usually in face.

Had faeces thrown directly at me once (it missed), scratched, bitten a fair few times, had heavy objects thrown at me many times.  It would take me to long to write everything, but have been involved in a lot of violent or extreme behaviour from students over the years, especially as a male, we tend to be the ones who end up getting more involved with it.

·         Been hit, kicked, had a kitchen knife in my face

·         Having a door slammed into my hand and breaking a bone in my hand along with damage to my tendons.  Punched in the back causing back pain.  Kicked in the head.

·         Strangled by an 8 year old.

·         Called fat cxxt, shut it, shut your mouth you slag, kicked, spat at, hair pulled, sexual touching, pupil tried to suckle, chair thrown.

·         Spat at and had dirty toilet brush flicked in my face.

·         Hit in the chest by a pupil causing severe bruising to my heart. The ambulance crew thought I was having a heart attack.  Scratched and kicked most weeks

·         Trying to stop a child spitting in the face of another child, our legs got tangled and as I fell over I tried to stop the child falling. I had 10 hours in hospital with an expected broken neck. I was lucky just bruising. I had recently finished a team teach course

·         Had broken nose suspected broken nose and hand scratched eye, scratches bites burn, thumped kicked

·         A child bit me when I attempted to remove the scooter from them as they were riding dangerously inside the school building. They punched me (uppercut to the chin) on another occasion.

Pupil left the school premises and I had to use positive handling to ensure their safety. This resulted in the parents reporting me to the police, even though I was trying to stop the child from running into a busy car park. The child was 7 years old

·         Threats from parents.  Verbal abuse from parents.

·         ad parent shouting at me for explaining to her child it is not ok to hit other children.

·         A parent threatened to slap me

·         I've had a parent try to hit me and they also tried to get my home address so they could track me down

·         Bruising, sore scalp as hair pulled out, scratches. I've been kicked, hit, scratched I've been spat at, I've had various items thrown at me, pupils have tried to bite me.

I've been threatened by pupils that they will hurt me. I have been sworn at been called so many derogatory names.

·         Chairs thrown. Fighting amongst pupils, verbal abuse constantly and one incident was a knife issue.

·         It has included kicks, bites, objects thrown & a pupil cutting my hair

·         I had a child tear my hair our whilst trying to bite my head and another child distressed from his actions scratching and clawing my chest tearing my clothes. Two adults 2 children and couldn't get them off of me for a while before someone walked past

·         Dislocated jaw resulting in hospital and x Ray. Regular bites, scratches, bruises

·         Quite a lot of the students at my school have behavioural issues and I can experience anything from minor scratches to a student head butting me, cornering me and kicking me, punching me.

smearing me with spit or faeces


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