Teachers report surge in parental aggression

Primary staff are the most vulnerable, suggests YouGov/TES poll

Three-quarters of teachers believe parents’ behaviour towards them has grown worse over the last five years, according to an exclusive poll for TES.

Among the primary and secondary staff questioned by YouGov, only 2 per cent said that parents’ behaviour had improved since 2010. And 25 per cent said that there had been no change at all in the way that parents behaved.

By contrast, 73 per cent of the teachers surveyed said that parents’ behaviour had become worse.

Chris Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT teaching union, said that she was unsurprised by this. “Primary school teachers are particularly vulnerable to verbal abuse, because often parents are picking up children from school,” she said. “But secondary teachers also find themselves being verbally abused in meetings with parents.”

Many teachers believe that the advent of social media has exacerbated the problem.

David Blow, headteacher of the Ashcombe School in Dorking, Surrey, said: “All it takes is something happening locally, or a bad Ofsted – something that a school could have managed really easily five years ago.

“Now, a couple of parents start up a Facebook page and the anxiety can spread. Something that’s in print is much harder to deal with than something people are just talking to each other about.”

A representative sample of 796 classroom teachers and headteachers from England and Wales were surveyed for the poll.

To read the full story, get the 28 August edition of TES on your tablet or phone, or by downloading the TES Reader app for Android or iOS.

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