Dealing with difficult behaviour: new UNISON guide

With challenging behaviour from pupils on the increase, UNISON is urging the government to better protect school support staff from violent attacks.

UNISON has published ‘Managing Difficult Behaviour in Schools – a new guide’, written by behaviour consultant Tom Bennett, designed to give staff more confidence and practical help when dealing with difficult situations.

UNISON has already raised concerns over a lack of training and guidance following a recent survey of more than 15,000 school support staff that revealed 60 per cent were concerned about how to deal with challenging pupil behaviour.

School support staff are on the front line when dealing with challenging pupil behaviour. All too often headteachers and school governors assume it is only teachers who need support in this area.

The new report provides basic tips to help you understand school behaviour policies, as well as how to handle and report violent incidents. It also sets out methods for defusing difficult situations and building relationships with students.

As one support staff member told UNISON:

“At times I feel more like a security guard than a support assistant. Although I have never been hurt myself I know of colleagues who have and the school pushes these incidents under the carpet rather than reprimand the pupils involved. The ‘softly softly’ approach does not work.”

Download the full report.

It is also available in hard copy format from the UNISON press office on 020 7121 5555.