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Thursday, 6 April, 2000, 14:42 GMT 15:42 UK
Heads fear violent parents
Head teacher
Head teachers want the police to take threats more seriously
Two-thirds of head teachers say their schools have been disrupted by violent and abusive parents.

Head teachers called for greater protection from the threat of violence, after a survey of heads found that aggression from parents was one of the biggest difficulties in running a school.

The National Association of Head Teachers, which carried out the survey, says that the courts and the police needed to ensure the safety of heads and to take the problem seriously.

We need a deterrent here. Everybody working in a school is entitled to protection from violence.

David Hart, National Association of Head Teachers
"The sad fact of life is that incidents of violence and levels of abusive behaviour from parents are on the increase," said the NAHT's general secretary, David Hart.

"We need a deterrent here. Everybody working in a school is entitled to protection from violence ... We need to make sure that the police and the Crown Prosecution Service prosecute these people. And we need to bring home to magistrates that these offences need to be treated with the maximum possible severity."

As an example of how the problem could be downplayed by the police, James Bishop, head at St Mary Redcliffe primary school in Bristol said: "If colleagues telephone the police over issues to do with verbal or even physical assault, the police don't even come. They say they haven't the time, or that it isn't a top priority."

As well as fears over violence, head teachers also identified too much paperwork, inspections and bidding for grants as obstacles to their work.

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14 Apr 99 | Education
Parents cheat over school places
27 Mar 00 | Education
Parents struggle with homework
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