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Three attacks on teachers are reported every week

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VIOLENCE is increasing in Jersey’s schools, with three reports of students assaulting teachers made each week, a union leader has said.

Marina Mauger

NASUWT Jersey representative Marina Mauger said pupils who would be put in special care in the UK are allowed into the Island’s mainstream education system, leading to more violent incidents in Jersey schools.

She said the most common cause of assaults on teachers was when they stepped in to protect other students from being attacked.

It was recently reported that the number of pupil suspensions in Jersey doubled to 800 between 2014 and 2018, with the most common reason being verbal and physical assaults on staff, which happened 210 times.

Mrs Mauger said: ‘We are seeing an increase in pupil assaults against teachers and that’s not just in secondary schools, it’s in primary schools.

‘I think this is because we have a lot of parents who have to work full-time, so they don’t get the quality time with their children, and we haven’t had the care in the Children’s Services to address the issues with these children.

‘Unfortunately, we have children in the education system who, in the UK, would not be in mainstream schools because their problems are so severe. In the UK they would be in a pupil-referral unit, but we can’t fund that over here.’

She added that a lot of the children in question were ‘leaning towards’ bad behaviour and criminality.

‘I must get three calls a week about teachers being assaulted. My standard response is you call the police and you report it because we are not going to tolerate this.

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‘Invariably, when I ask teachers how it happened, they say to me that if they hadn’t jumped in the way another child would have been hurt. They weren’t necessarily attacking the teachers – they were attacking another child and the teacher had to intervene.

‘It really concerns me the level of increase that we are seeing with that.’

Mrs Mauger said she felt that there was still a lack of investment in young people in the Island, such as a pupil-referral unit, and that she had been disappointed with the money allocated towards education in the Government Plan, which was published last month.

‘I didn’t see enough about investment in young people in it. There is some stuff in there, but considering that we are using the mantra “we are putting children first”, I would have expected it to be a lot more focused in that area,’ she said.

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‘The care system is a mess. We have a lot of looked-after children in Jersey and there have been huge gaps.

‘Young people with problems are in the education system and teachers are becoming like social workers these days – you are dealing with their social and emotional problems every day in your class room.

‘I’m talking about children who are able to access mainstream education but really need specialist intervention.’

Ian Heath

By Ian Heath
author

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