Source: Elinor Cheason at NASUWT Cymru.

‘Spat at, punched and bitten’ – Barry teachers walk out of classrooms due to ‘abuse’ from pupils

Teachers at a high school in Barry have walked out of classrooms following allegations they have been punched, bitten and attacked by students.

Staff at Pencoedtre High School say they have been left “unsupported” by senior management following allegations they have been physically and emotionally abused by pupils there.

According to the BBC, the school has suspended 136 students since last September because of bad behaviour and poor treatment towards staff, where some claim they have been treated like “punch bags”.

One teacher, who wants to remain anonymous, said she has been assaulted on multiple occasions and claims she has been “spat at, punched, headbutted, kicked, and bitten”.

Another teacher said she had to lock herself in her classroom because she was afraid of a violent student.

Pencoedtre High School is one of six schools in the area where teachers allege they are experiencing abuse from their pupils. Strikes began on 10 January with four more days of walkouts planned for 24, 25, 31 January and 1 February.

Source: Elinor Cheason at NASUWT Cymru. 

Neil Butler, the head of NASUWT for Wales, said: “It is a pretty grim situation. Teacher’s wouldn’t be striking if they did not need to. They are only on strike as a very last resort”.

Mr Butler said that more patrols at schools to improve safety and security would be one solution to improve the situation.

A recent report from Wales’ school inspectorate Estyn in November 2022 on Pencoedtre said there is “a lack of clear strategic direction and too much confusion over roles and responsibilities.”

Schools who have teachers on strike are seeking support from the Vale of Glamorgan Council and the Learning and Culture Scrutiny Committee to try and help support the teachers and improve management.

In a statement, the council said it is working with the schools and and the NASUWT to solve the issues with the teachers. A spokesperson from the council said: “The work taking place has been discussed with the trade union in regular meetings and includes steps to improve the working environment and update the school’s behaviour policy.”