Two-thirds of pupils do not feel safe at school on daily basis

Two teachers and one student was injured during the incident at Ysgol Dyffryn Aman
Two teachers and one student was injured during the incident at Ysgol Dyffryn Aman - WALES NEWS SERVICE

Nearly two-thirds of pupils do not feel safe at school every day, a Government survey published in the wake of a knife attack in Wales has revealed.

A poll of around 2,500 secondary pupils in May last year found that 61 per cent had not felt safe at school in the past week, up from 59 per cent a year earlier.

The findings, which relate to schools in England, come one day after two teachers and a pupil were stabbed at a secondary school in south-west Wales.

A girl was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder after police and emergency services were called to Amman Valley School, also known as Ysgol Dyffryn Aman, in Carmarthenshire.

All victims have now been discharged from hospital.

Amman Valley School as parents line the school gates after as pupils leave the school
Ysgol Dyffryn Aman students being met by parents after the incident that happened during morning break - UNIPIXS

The Association of School and College Leaders warned on Thursday that there has been a “rise in poor behaviour” among a minority of pupils, which is “posing a challenge for school leaders and teachers”.

The union said that a “lack of support from some parents” in dealing with behavioural issues was making the challenge tougher for schools.

The Government polled more than 2,000 teachers and school leaders about pupil behaviour in May 2023.

It found that 73 per cent of teachers and school leaders said that pupil misbehaviour had a negative impact on their health and wellbeing in the past week, up from 60 per cent a year earlier.

More than one in 10 teachers last year said their health and wellbeing had suffered “to a great extent”.

‘Teacher’s are being punched’

Only 60 per cent of teachers and school leaders agreed that parents were supportive of their school’s behaviour rules, down from 66 per cent in the previous year.

On average, teachers reported that for every 30 minutes of lesson time, seven minutes were lost due to misbehaviour. This was an increase from June 2022, when 6.3 minutes were reported to be lost.

Last month, Dr Patrick Roach, the general secretary of the NASUWT teaching union, said teachers were struggling to cope with worsening pupil behaviour post lockdown.

Speaking to reporters at the union’s annual conference in Harrogate, he said: “Nine out of 10 teachers are saying they have experienced verbal and physical abuse during the last 12 months. Teachers are being punched…and this is an issue which isn’t just impacting on one or two schools. It’s an issue which is right across the piece.”

Last year, NASUWT members at Calidcot Comprehensive in Monmouthshire, south-east Wales, went on strike over what they claimed was a failure to address pupil violence and abuse.

Responding to the survey findings, a Department for Education spokesman said: “Good behaviour in schools is key to raising standards, which is why we are taking decisive action to ensure all schools are calm, safe, and supportive environments and are providing school leaders and teachers with the tools to improve behaviour.

“Not only have we banned mobile phones in schools to reduce disruption, our £10 million Behaviour Hubs programme aims to support up to 700 schools over three years to improve behaviour. Data from our behaviour hubs acts as a benchmark of the standards we expect so we make sure support is targeted where it is needed most.”