Teachers afraid of reporting bullying


A third of teachers have suffered prejudice related bullying within the last year according to  research commissioned by the teachers' union, NASUWT. For one in five of these teachers, bullying is a consistent feature of their working life.

However, victims are often afraid to report incidents out of fear about the negative impact on their career and possible reprisals - only 15 per cent of victims reported every incident that occurred.

The survey, commissioned by NASUWT, reveals that:

  • age-related bullying and harassment was the most common type reported in 41 per cent of cases. This was followed by other types of prejudice related bullying (28 per cent) and those related to body image (16 per cent) and gender/sex/trans (14 per cent).
  • One in six teachers report having experienced organised racist and fascist activity within schools.
  • In around half of all cases teachers were bullied by their immediate line-manager (48 per cent), just over a third were bullied by a colleague (36 per cent) and around a quarter were bullied by pupils (25 per cent).

Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, said: "These are disturbing findings revealing the appalling and unacceptable treatment of teachers in the workplace.

"Unfortunately, this comes as no surprise confirming as it does anecdotal reports from members which prompted this additional study.

"Tackling prejudice related bullying must be a whole school issue, with policies outlawing such behaviour towards staff and pupils.

"The NASUWT has been highlighting these issues for some years and this research demonstrates that it remains a critical issue.

"Teachers, like all other workers, have a right to be treated with dignity at work.

"The idea that victims of such behaviour are too frightened to report that they are being treated in this way should raise deep concerns about the inappropriate management culture in some schools.

"Unfortunately the commitment made by the last government to introduce recording of all incidents of bullying, including prejudice related bullying of staff and pupils has been put on hold by the Coalition.

"In order to put in place effective strategies at national, local and school level to combat bullying in all its forms, a comprehensive database of incidents is needed to show the full nature and extent of the problems."

Professor Martin Gill, Director of PRCI research, said: "The scale of victimisation underlines the importance of developing, implementing and communicating effective policies in schools that address all forms of prejudice related bullying. "Moreover, there needs to be an increased emphasis on encouraging victims to report incidents; understanding victimisation patterns is crucial to developing the best response."