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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 February 2007, 17:54 GMT
'My school is like a war-zone'
Police tape
Our teacher says he was threatened with a knife
Teaching at schools in deprived London boroughs is like working in a war-zone, says one disillusioned young teacher.

The 25-year-old, who does not wish to be named for fear of losing his job, says he has been threatened with a range of weapons and kicked and punched for real.

"As soon as you walk through the school doors - you have absolutely no idea what will happen - it's like a war-zone.

"There's extreme cases of bullying - some teachers are in tears every day.

"It comes to the stage where the curriculum doesn't even come into it. I am satisfied just if I get the kids to be nice to one another."

He turned round and told me to go and get a bullet proof vest - that he would be back

He continued: "In my first year I was threatened with a knife.

"A boy had one in his pocket and he went to grab it - another teacher had to restrain him."

"Eventually the boy was excluded," he explains.

Most recently, when he and another teacher were helping with an after-school event, they had to remove a group of youngsters who had climbed over a fence.

"A few of the pupils had tried to get in without tickets and so we told them to get out. They wouldn't so I had to physically remove them.

"I picked one of them up and threw him out and he turned round and told me to go and get a bullet proof vest - that he would be back."

He says he and his colleagues take this sort of threat with a pinch of salt but one day the person making the threat might just follow through.

That day armed police arrived from a nearby police station and the group ran off.

'Difficult backgrounds'

Unlike the teaching unions, our teacher says these sort of incidents are a daily occurrence in most inner London schools.

"We have to fill in so many statements and reports. We spend most of the time babysitting rather than teaching.

"I am 25 and when I went into teaching I didn't think my days would be spent making sure pupils didn't injure themselves or others.

"I thought I would be teaching. Really I am a cross between a social worker and some kind of policeman.

"I know a lot of the children have really difficult backgrounds and some of them don't go home to parents at all but there is a big difference between what people think teachers are doing and what they actually do."

Once in a blue moon you get a sense of achievement - when you get through to someone

He says there is a police officer attached to the school in the deprived London borough in which he works.

But even so, many incidents go unpunished or children escape with three-day exclusions rather than something more permanent.

"I don't think that we, as teachers, are equipped with the powers to deal with what goes on.

"I feel senior management don't use their powers to support us."

He cites the case of a teacher who was spat at on numerous occasions.


"The pupil's mother was called in, but the pupil got away with a slap on the wrists."

So what makes him turn up at the school gates every morning?

"Once in a blue moon you get a sense of achievement - when you get through to someone.

"But that's in an emotional sense not an educational one.

"That makes you feel good."

"I have good relationships with some of the children - like my form group - I love them to bits.

"I don't want to let them down."

Attacks on teachers 'every day'
01 Feb 07 |  Education

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