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Four in five teachers have been bullied at work, survey reveals

PUBLISHED: 09:06 18 April 2019 | UPDATED: 09:49 18 April 2019

Four in five teachers have experienced workplace bullying, leaving many suffering from anxiety and depression as a result, according to a study by teaching union NASUWT. Picture: Getty Images

Four in five teachers have experienced workplace bullying, leaving many suffering from anxiety and depression as a result, according to a study by teaching union NASUWT. Picture: Getty Images

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Teachers are turning to drink and drugs and considering self-harming due to workplace bullying, according to new research.

A study by teaching union NASUWT revealed teachers were subject to verbal and physical abuse and had been belittled and criticised in front of others.

The survey of almost 2,000 teachers found four in five teachers have been bullied in the last year, with an equal proportion of victims suffering from anxiety and more than half experiencing depression as a result.

The majority of incidents were reported to have been perpetrated by headteachers, who were responsible for 70pc of incidents, line managers and senior leaders.

One said: “It has been horrific. I genuinely thought about harming myself so I wouldn't have to attend work.”

Another teacher, who claimed they had “put up with bullying” for two years, said: “Education is a nasty, back stabbing, cruel place to work.”

Nearly half the teachers (45pc) surveyed by NASUWT had visited their GP because of bullying, while other respondents said they were turning to prescribed drugs (18pc) and alcohol (17pc) to help them cope.

Chris Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT, said: “Evidence of bullying is alarmingly prevalent in schools and colleges.

“While there are many schools that treat their staff with courtesy and respect, teachers tell us that in too many a culture of bullying and abuse of teachers is far too common.

“Bullying is destroying many teachers' physical and mental health, and driving some teachers from their schools or the profession entirely.

“The abuse, bullying, ostracising and undermining of teachers has to stop.”

A Department for Education spokeswoman said: “No teacher should face bullying or ill-treatment in the workplace, and schools have a duty to protect their staff.

“Our Teacher Recruitment and Retention Strategy, launched in January, focuses on the wellbeing of school and college staff and in particular the importance of developing supportive cultures.

“Employers have a legal duty to ensure the health, safety and welfare of their employees, which includes minimising the risk of stress-related illness.”

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