Informa Markets

Author Bio ▼

Safety and Health Practitioner (SHP) is first for independent health and safety news.
April 21, 2011

Get the SHP newsletter

Daily health and safety news, job alerts and resources

Addressing job pressures could reduce teacher bullying

The head of a teachers’ union has urged schools to tackle the causes of employee bullying or risk demoralising staff.

The Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) questioned more than 900 teachers, lecturers, support staff and school leaders in schools and colleges across the UK.

A quarter said they have been bullied by colleagues, of which half have been bullied by a member of the leadership team, 26 per cent by a head of department, and 22 per cent by a teacher, or lecturer.

A quarter stated they have been bullied by a pupil and 23 per cent by a parent, or carer.

Over half (56 per cent) said they have experienced bullying on several occasions, with over a quarter (27 per cent) saying it happened frequently, or regularly.

Almost half (46 per cent) said they were victims of intimidation – for example, threats, shouting, or been sworn at – and 43 per cent said they have suffered emotional or psychological abuse as a result. Moreover, 72 per cent of respondents said the bullying has caused them stress and 66 per cent stated that it has caused them anxiety.

Almost half of respondents didn’t report the bullying to their school or college and, of those who did report it, 52 per cent were unhappy at the way their employer had handled the incident.

Commenting on the survey results, ATL general secretary, Dr Mary Bousted, pointed out that school and college staff are under a great deal of pressure from working long hours, high workloads and inspections – all of which can result in strained relationships among teaching staff.

She said: “It is unacceptable for any staff to be bullied by colleagues, and schools and colleges need robust policies in place to pick up any problems and deal with them promptly. It is not good enough to just tackle the symptoms; schools and colleges also need to tackle the cause of the bullying. In the case of many education staff, they are under too much pressure in their roles and this needs to be addressed.

“Without robust policies on bullying and adequate measures to resolve the problem, staff will become demoralised and this can only have a negative impact on pupils.”

Yvonne Flemming, national officer for leadership and management at AMiE, added: “As the leadership section of ATL, AMiE does not condone workplace bullying and harassment in any shape or form, particularly as our own members, on occasion, fall victim themselves to such practices. We support, guide and provide learning opportunities for our present and future leaders and managers to ensure good practice within our schools and colleges.”

What makes us susceptible to burnout?

In this episode  of the Safety & Health Podcast, ‘Burnout, stress and being human’, Heather Beach is joined by Stacy Thomson to discuss burnout, perfectionism and how to deal with burnout as an individual, as management and as an organisation.

We provide an insight on how to tackle burnout and why mental health is such a taboo subject, particularly in the workplace.


Related Topics

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments