Teachers Report Mental Health Problems as Youngster Play Up; Children Are Becoming Aggressive at an Earlier Age, Warns Teachers' Union

Article excerpt

Byline: Katie Norman

MORE than a quarter of primary school teachers have suffered mental health problems after dealing with disruptive pupils, union research has indicated.

A survey by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) has indicated that primary schoolchildren are becoming increasingly aggressive and teachers are suffering from loss of confidence and mental health issues, as well as physical injuries, after dealing with such youngsters.

The research formed the basis of an ITV1 Tonight documentary hosted by Chris Tarrant called Who Wants To Be A Teacher?, which was screened this week.

Findings of the survey indicated that 55.1% of primary school teachers believe the behaviour of primary age pupils has become worse over the past five years and 76% think pupils are becoming more aggressive at an earlier age.

The research also suggested dealing with disruptive children has resulted in a loss of confidence for 40.5% of teachers, has apparently resulted in mental heath problems for 26.5% of teachers and has caused physical harm to 16.7% of teachers.

Dr Philip Dixon, director of the union's Welsh arm ATL Cymru, said: "Our survey reveals some disturbing findings.

"Teachers are reporting that children are becoming aggressive at an ever earlier age. Teaching is becoming ever harder, even in primary schools.

"Good behaviour is essential for good learning. Most schools have excellent policies but they need to be put into practice.

"Parents have a key role to play in all this and should be reinforcing not undermining the good work of schools."

The survey was based on 1,078 primary school teachers who are members of ATL. …