Assault on education – four alarming stats on the state of violence in education settings
23 Feb 2024
In recent years, we have witnessed an alarming increase in reports of violence within schools, whether it be attacks on teachers or peer-on-peer violence. Here we delve into four worrying school safety statistics in the UK and Ireland that demonstrate the extent of the issue currently facing the education sector. It is only by understanding the problem that we can begin to address this concerning trend and explore potential solutions to combat these urgent issues.
Since 2017, more than 500 special-needs assistants (SNAs) and teachers in Ireland sought leave due to physical assaults (Irish Times)
Recent figures reveal that over 500 teachers and SNAs have sought “assault leave” in the six years since the scheme's inception. It is evident that SNAs, due to the nature of their work, are highly vulnerable to violent attacks. Students with additional learning needs often face challenges in communication, sensory processing, emotional regulation, or social interaction, which can contribute to feelings of frustration, anxiety, and being overwhelmed. Consequently, these difficulties may manifest as aggressive behaviour.
Union representatives have expressed grave concerns about the escalating severity and frequency of such incidents, particularly those involving students with additional needs. P2 by Pinpoint provides an effective solution. The system enables staff to immediately summon assistance without alerting the attention of the pupil, thereby allowing responders to swiftly arrive at the scene and defuse potentially violent behaviour.
More than one in 10 teachers in the UK have been physically assaulted by a pupil in the last year, (NASUWT)
Findings based on responses from 8,466 NASUWT members reveal that a significant portion of teachers experiences physical assaults (13%) and verbal abuse from parents or carers (28%). Teachers shared distressing accounts of being subjected to physical attacks, including being kicked, bitten, punched, and slapped by pupils, indicating the daily threats present in schools.
Understandably, such experiences have a significant impact on teachers' mental and physical health, often resulting in reduced performance or absenteeism, which in turn affects the outcome of school pupils.
Nearly half of Ireland’s teens say they experience peer violence at school (UNICEF)
A 2018 UNICEF report reveals that nearly half of Ireland's students aged 13 to 15 have experienced peer violence in and around school. The report shed light on the alarming prevalence of bullying and physical fights among Irish students, highlighting the significant impact these incidents have on their education and overall well-being.
These eye-opening findings serve as a powerful reminder of the urgent need for effective measures to prevent violence among schoolchildren. Peer violence can escalate rapidly, sometimes occurring out of sight of teachers. The ability to alert others and call for immediate support becomes crucial to intervene and prevent injuries.
10,000 violent incidents in Scottish primary schools were reported last year (Daily Record)
A recent report published in the Daily Record showcased increasing rates of violence in Scottish primary schools, with nearly 11,000 documented reports of assault within the past year alone.
Abuse of teachers has surged since the pandemic, sparking concern for the safety of school environments in Scotland. Consequently, school staff, parents and guardians are increasingly seeking reassurance that all necessary measures are taken to improve the security of such settings.
How Pinpoint's safety systems prevent violence in schools
To address increasing rates of abuse of teachers in the UK and Ireland, we must adopt a multifaceted approach that includes training, intervention, and the implementation of specialist staff safety systems.
Pinpoint's P2 System offers a powerful solution to attacks on teaching staff and pupils. Efficient, easy-to-use, discreet and robust P2 personal alarms enable teachers to swiftly alert colleagues to an incident or emergency and de-escalate the situation accordingly.
What’s more, our new graphical display clearly shows the location and incident level of multiple calls simultaneously, allowing responders to rapidly identify where help is needed and allocate help proportionately.
Installing such systems within educational settings is critical to minimising harm toward teachers and ultimately improving learner outcomes for students.
These statistics demonstrate the urgent need to address violence in the education systems in Ireland and the UK. By understanding the extent of the issue and implementing comprehensive strategies, including intelligent staff safety systems, we can work towards creating safe and secure learning environments for both staff and students.
Does your school require an efficient, reliable staff attack system? Get in touch with us to discuss your school safety needs.