This week

Schools going the same way as prisons…


Maria’s Midweek Mindfulness 


The Wednesday Whisper

Teachers face weekly violence from pupils, says survey

In a poll of 5000 teachers, a quarter (24%) of teachers say they face violence once a week. Four in 10 (42%) have been threatened verbally. “Verbal abuse is now part of the daily working landscape for a primary teacher,” one teacher said.

Teachers are expected to tolerate verbal abuse and threats as ‘an occupational hazard’. There appears to be no appetite for tackling the issues that face teachers in the classroom.”

Of course this is completely unacceptable to expect anyone to work under these conditions.

I often compare schools to prisons and we have seen the deterioration of prisons into violent places where Prison Officers fear for their own safety.

But what can be done?

In the Dialogue Road Map, one of our principles is that anything anyone says or does can be seen as feedback. It lets you know whether your system, policies and procedures are working or not working. If I look through that lens then pupils are telling the system that it isn’t working. If that system remains rigid or even tightens the screws on how it does things, it can expect the feedback to become escalated.

It is completely unfair for frontline workers, such as teachers and prison officers to be the messengers of a system that its service users are complaining about to the point of violence.

So there is a responsibility for the architects of those systems to admit that their methods are no longer working and look at other ways of tackling the issues that do not place the onus on service users to ‘behave better’ with no sign of change from the system.

Our latest schools project is beginning to have an effect in 3 primary schools and in the very prestigious Wellington College. I have been going into schools and experiencing the issues first hand since 2001.

Maria’s Midweek Mindfulness

I challenge the Department of Education and Headteachers everywhere to talk to us about implementing the Dialogue Road Map as the method of communication and conflict resolution in our schools.

The Wednesday Whisper

When you are a service user, what systems do you think would benefit from an overhaul of communication processes?

Would you be willing to send this out to anyone you think might be interested in getting a little dose of mindfulness each week?