Cornwall call for more teacher protection

A teaching union has called for action to defend its members after it was revealed nine Cornwall secondary school teachers needed hospital treatment for attack injuries in the past five years.

The figures from Cornwall Council also showed 89 teachers reported being physically or verbally abused by pupils over the same time.

Kathy Wallis, of the NASUWT, said many incidents went unreported.

The council said Ofsted had ruled its schools were a model of good behaviour.

Officials at the authority said the attacks had been "relatively minor" and the teachers had been treated at minor injury units.

Ms Wallis, who works as a teacher herself, said: "I've had chairs thrown at me and been assaulted by parents.

"I even had a young member staff ask me if it normal to be asked to 'F-off' by pupils.

"It was a very sad thing to hear."

She added: "We need zero tolerance. If someone attacks a member of staff they should be out, simple as that."

Behaviour praised

Chris Jackman, head teacher at Hayle Community school and chair of the Cornwall Association of Secondary Heads said: "We have to recognise the society we live in.

"The level of verbal abuse has been getting worse."

He urged teachers not to put themselves at risk and to report every incident.

Cornwall Council said none of the incidents had involved weapons and no teachers had been off work for long as a result of being injured in the classroom.

The council's head of schools and achievement, David Wood, said Ofsted inspectors had praised the behaviour of Cornish pupils.

"Every secondary school in Cornwall is good or outstanding in behaviour management," he said.

"This is not an issue of great concern for us."

He said the attacks had been "relatively minor incidents".

"We are talking about minor injury units to be check out rather than anything more serious. No-one has been admitted to hospital."

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