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New guidance to help schools tackle harassment of staff

Government has promised new guidance to help schools tackle harassment of staff and extended its school leader mental health support scheme for another three years.

The guidance pledge comes as the proportion of school leaders who have been verbally abused by parents is rising. Some schools have called for a national campaign to stamp it out.

One trust has written its own code of conduct for parents, while others have written letters pleading for better behaviour.

The guidance for schools will help them to prevent and tackle bullying and harassment of school staff, government said. It is expected to be completed this spring.

Government said this follows “extensive consultation with school leaders and teachers around the improvements they believe will ensure that teaching remains an attractive and rewarding profession”.

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said: “Sadly, we have seen an increase in unacceptable behaviour towards school staff in recent years.

“Guidance on this may be of some help, however we also need a clear message from government that harassment and aggression towards school staff will never be tolerated. We urge the government to go further on this.”

Meanwhile, ministers have announced £1.5 million funding to extend a professional supervision and counselling support scheme for another three years. It will now be available to at least 2,500 leaders between April this year and March 2027.

Following criticism after the death of headteacher Ruth Perry, government upped the number of school leaders that were able to access help from 500 to 1,000 this year.

The Workload Reduction Taskforce is also due to publish “early recommendations” later today.

Ministers have pledged to cut five hours off the working week within three years. Final recommendations will be published in spring.

Schools minister Damian Hinds said: “Great teaching is the key ingredient to academic success – and while we now have more teachers than ever before – it’s crucial that we continue to ensure that teaching remains an attractive and rewarding profession.

“That’s why we have announced new investment and reforms today to support teacher wellbeing, ease workload pressures and tackle bullying and harassment of staff.”

When asked which reforms he was referring to – as none have been announced yet – the Department for Education did not respond.

The department did announce that it was “honouring its commitment” to publish progress on the education staff well-being charter two years after its launch.

The update will, the DfE said, show “significant progress”.

Schools Week revealed last year the government had broken its charter pledge not to publish important information for schools outside of working hours several times already – including four times in a week in November. 

Government said more than 3,000 schools have made use of the charter so far – which is roughly just one in six schools nationally.

Now Teach’s contract to recruit career changers has also been renewed. Valued at £1.5 million, it will now run until October 2026.

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