Wales’s largest education union has called on the Welsh Government to develop a national strategy to prevent and reduce violent behaviour towards education employees and for it to include safeguards to protect school and college leaders and their staff. The National Education Union Cymru also states that aggressive behaviours, attacks, verbal abuse and unsubstantiated allegations against school staff and leaders arise across Wales, and that education employees in schools cannot continue to lower the bar on what is deemed as acceptable behaviour.

David Evans, Wales Secretary of the National Education Union Cymru, said:

“The level of violence and abusive behaviour against our members is an issue. Aggressive behaviour, including physical attacks and verbal abuse towards school staff and leaders occur across Wales and the causes of this needs to be addressed.

“Every employee has the right to feel safe and secure in their place of employment and we will be seeking to work with partners to make sure the Welsh Government hear the concerns of the education workforce and develop a national strategy to prevent and reduce this behaviour.”

ENDS

The text of the motion to conference on this issue was as follows:

Motion 29:  A campaign against violence and threats of violence towards education employees

Conference Cymru welcomes the support that the NEU give to members who are victims of violence and threats of violence at work.

Conference Cymru recognises that behaviour in schools is a cause for concern, impacted by lack of funding across the sectors which affect all learners. Measures to develop staff resilience and wellbeing are welcome but do not address the fundamental issues.

However, Conference Cymru could try to further improve the situation for its members, and members of other Unions, by launching a campaign where the same message is displayed in all education establishment reception areas, similar to those you get in for example doctors’ surgeries with the message that threatening and intimidating behaviour will not be tolerated.

Conference Cymru notes that aggressive behaviours, attacks, verbal abuse and unsubstantiated allegations against school staff and leaders are on the increase across Wales. This is happening in education or in other public services.

Conference Cymru believes that members in schools cannot continue to lower the bar on what is accepted. It is eroding staff wellbeing both directly and indirectly.

Conference Cymru therefore instructs the Executive through the Wales Committee and NEU Cymru to:

  1. Set up a working party to identify causes – class sizes, cuts in relevant services and accessibility to relevant curriculum.
  2. Lobby the Welsh Government for a national strategy to prevent and reduce this behaviour to include safeguards to protect school and college leaders and their staff.
  3. Secure funded training from the Welsh Government to help staff deal with violent, abusive and aggressive incidents.
  4. The text of the motion to conference on this issue was as follows:

    Motion 26.      Independent Welsh Pay Review Body

    Conference Cymru notes that the Independent Welsh Pay Review Body (IWPRB) have published their initial report and recommendations on pay for teachers employed in Welsh schools. It is further noted that the process of dealing with Welsh Schoolteachers Pay & Conditions of Service is already underway.

    However, the process thus far has been drawn out and unnecessarily cumbersome with the need for stakeholders to establish in the first instance a remit for the IWPRB, for that to be agreed and issued by the Minister for Education, a call for written evidence, the taking of oral evidence, preparation and submission of a report containing recommendations, a consultation period followed by a final decision endorsed by the Welsh Government.

    Throughout all this the Welsh Government have indicated their support for collective bargaining which is also endorsed by Wales Trades Union Congress (TUC). All evidence clearly indicates that a collective bargaining process results in a quicker decision-making process that provides a better outcome for stakeholders.

    Accordingly, Conference Cymru instructs the Executive through the Wales Committee to urge all other teaching unions and professional associations to agree that collective bargaining would be the better model for determining teachers’ pay in Wales and to press for that to take place.

    Contact:

  5. David Evans, National Education Union, Tŷ Sinnott, 18 Neptune Court, Vanguard Way, Cardiff CF24 5PJ.  Tel: 029 20491818. Mob: 07815 071164. Email: david.evans@neu.org.uk
  6. Mary van den Heuvel, National Education Union, Tŷ Sinnott, 18 Neptune Court, Vanguard Way, Cardiff CF24 5PJ.  Tel: 029 20491818. Email: Mary.VandenHeuvel@neu.org.uk