The majority of UK schools have no guidelines in place to support teachers who receive online abuse from parents and pupils, despite almost a third reporting that they have been subject to social media abuse over the past 12 months.


Even when abuse is reported, no follow-up action is taken in nearly half (45%) of cases, with one in three teachers (38%) feeling it necessary to stop using personal social media accounts over potential privacy and abuse concerns.


These are among the key findings of a survey conducted by the NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union, into social media abuse and misuse within schools.


While 83% of 1507 teachers responding to the survey said their school had a social media policy in place, over two-thirds (68%) said these contained no reference to supporting their own staff should they become victims of online abuse.


Shockingly it is not just pupils who are subjecting teachers to abuse, with 50% saying parents had posted inappropriate or insulting comment to/about them.


Other key findings of the survey included:

  • 62% reported pupils viewing/sharing online sexual content, with one in six (16%) of these children of primary school age.
  • 48% said parents were using social media to make public allegations/complaints about a school, including to bodies such as OFSTED, without going through formal channels.
  • 35% reported pupils citing clearly ‘fake news’ or false information sourced online as fact within their work.


Commenting on the findings, Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, said:


“The findings of this survey paint a shocking picture of what is happening in our schools, where on a day-to-day basis teachers are getting no support despite being  subjected to appalling levels of online abuse, while pupils’ ability to view and share inappropriate online content seems to continue virtually unabated.


“Most worryingly it appears that rather than setting a good example to their children, even some parents think it is acceptable to abuse and threaten teachers online.


“This has to stop. Being a victim of online abuse can be a very traumatic experience, which can potentially ruin lives and careers.  Government must act to put more safeguards in place to protect teachers and pupils alike and ensure our classrooms remain a safe and secure environment for all.”



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