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Teachers considering wearing stab vests and bodycams to protect them from violent pupils

Teachers are considering wearing stab vests and bodycams to work amid a surge in violence in schools, a head of a teachers’ union has warned

Patrick Roach, general secretary of NASUWT, said teachers are calling for the introduction of stab vests and bodycams to protect themselves from violent pupils.

He said there was a “serious” problem of violence in schools and more support was needed for teachers.

Mr Roach told Times Radio that although some teachers were asking for more protection, he felt the issue needed to be addressed with extra support for the children and their families rather than by “arming” teachers.

He said: “The reality is that even within the school gates there is a problem of violence around the carrying of offensive weapons. And I know that many teachers are trying to work very hard to address those issues.

“Violence, our members said in our behaviour survey, has increased significantly over the course of the last 12 months.

He also claimed 40 per cent of teachers are saying that they have experienced or witnessed physical violent assault in their schools, adding: “That’s serious”.

When asked whether teachers were calling for the introduction of stab vests, he said: “We have had that being raised. I wouldn’t say that it’s the generality of our members have raised that as an issue.

“Whether it be stab vests, whether that be bodycams. This is part of a discussion which is taking place.

“But there’s a dynamic in the relationship between teachers and pupils, which is fundamental, which we don’t really want to change, which is ultimately one which is built on trust, it’s built on mutual respect and we think that’s an important part of the way in which schools should be functioning.

“If we reduce this to how do we deal with an individual pupil that may be carrying a weapon inside? We need to legislate for that. We need to arm our teachers. We need to give teachers staff vests. We need to give teachers bodycams.

“What are we doing for the other 29 kids in that class who frankly want to get on with their learning in an environment which they feel is supportive and caring?

“I don’t think that does any favours for the generality of pupils. What we need is better support for those children and their families who are at risk.”

On Thursday (28 September) at Bristol Magistrates’ Court , a 15-year-old boy was sentenced to 14 months in a youth detention for 14 months for stabbing maths teach Jamie Sansom in July this year at Tewkesbury Academy, in Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire.

The court heard that the youth had put on a snood and a hooded top to cover his face and taken a six-inch kitchen knife from his home.

Mr Sansom, who has taught maths at the school since 2017, was discharged from hospital on the same day he was attacked and said he was “recovering well”.

A Department for Education spokeswoman said: “No teacher should feel unsafe or face violence in the workplace and we are taking action to improve pupils’ behaviour to ensure every school has a safe and respectable environment.

“Our ongoing £10 million Behaviour Hubs programme aims to support up to 700 schools between 2021 and 2024 in improving their behaviour by partnering them with selected exemplary lead schools and multi academy trusts.

“Our updated Behaviour in Schools guidance provides advice on creating whole-school cultures which explicitly sets out what good behaviour looks like.

“This is so pupils can understand and uphold high expectations of behaviour which, in turn, establishes calm and safe environments.”

Additional reporting by Press Association.

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