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Half of school support staff suffer violence, study finds

GMB STUDY: The union's national officer described the findings as truly disturbing

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

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

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.”

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.

Leonard said: “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."

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

School support staff have also reported that they have suffered physical 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.
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