A new study has revealed the devastating toll attacks on teaching assistants (TAs) can take, both physically and emotionally. The University of Roehampton study, which is believed to be the first of its kind in the UK, interviewed TAs working in mainstream schools about their experiences of aggression from pupils.
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The results paint a picture of a largely female and low-paid workforce regularly subjected to violence, threats and abuse.
TAs told researchers they had been hit in the face, bitten, had objects thrown at them and received death threats. Their injuries included cuts, a black eye, a dislocated thumb, a broken finger and torn ligaments.
Many interviewed said they had been left scared, anxious and isolated by the attacks. Some said they had considered quitting their job as a result.
The study highlights the need for better support for TAs, who play a vital role in schools but are often overlooked.
It is time for schools to wake up to the reality of what TAs are dealing with daily and take action to protect them.
According to the study, the most common aggression TAs face is verbal abuse, followed by physical assaults.
The research was conducted by interviewing 30 TAs working in mainstream primary and secondary schools in the UK.
TAs are a vital but often overlooked part of the school workforce. They play a crucial role in supporting pupils, particularly those with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).
However, they are also one of the most vulnerable groups of workers in schools. Their work is often low-paid and insecure, and they are at increased risk of violence and abuse from pupils.
This study provides valuable insight into the experiences of TAs and the challenges they face daily. It highlights the need for better support for TAs in terms of pay and conditions and protecting them from abuse.
Schools must do more to ensure that TAs are safe at work and have the support they need to do their jobs effectively. This includes ensuring that TAs are paid a fair wage for their vital work and that they are protected from violence and abuse.
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