Conservatives to tackle violence against teachers

The Conservative Party will today put forward its plans to tackle the growing problem of physical violence against teachers.

Shadow Education Secretary Tim Collins will detail plans that would put the offence of assaulting a teacher on a par with assaulting a police officer.

Speaking at the NASUWT teachers’ union conference, he will describe plans that would allow a person physically abusing a teacher to be jailed for as much as six months.

“Zero tolerance is not about warm words or protecting teachers some of the time, it is about making offenders pay and protecting teachers all of the time,” he said.

Today’s comments come after figures released by the National Union of Teachers this week suggest that teachers in Britain are currently suffering more levels of physical abuse than at any time in their history.

Mr Collins is also expected to concentrate on his party’s pledge to give teachers more power over school exclusions and will challenge the Government over its policy of giving pupils the right to appeal against their exclusions to independent panels.

On Wednesday, Schools Minister Stephen Twigg promised action to get knives out of schools, and declared the Government’s full backing for schools removing or prosecuting aggressive pupils.

He told the NASUWT conference: “If Labour is re-elected, [we] will take decisive steps to tackle the disturbing knives culture.”

He added that the Government fully backed “tough decisions to remove or prosecute anyone, whether pupil or parent, who is behaving in an aggressive manner”.

Liberal Democrat education spokesman Phil Willis also wants to see a tougher stance on violence against teachers. He said: “No teacher should have to endure threats or actual physical violence by pupils or parents and such behaviour should result in immediate action by police and the Crown Prosecution Service.”