Assaults by pupils put 12 Merton school support staff in hospital last year
More than 100 school support staff were assaulted by pupils in Merton schools last year - twelve so seriously they required hospital treatment.
The figures come following reports by the council that not a single teacher was assaulted in Merton schools last year.
However Merton GMB union has come out to speak for school support staff who they say are bearing the brunt.
According to figures obtained by the GMB from Merton Council 108 school support staff were assaulted by pupils between April 2012 and March 2013.
Twelve of the assaults were so serious that staff members had to be taken to hospital.
In 2012/13 not a single report of violence or verbal abuse toward a teacher by a pupil was reported.
Keir Greenaway, branch secretary, said: "When our members read the Wimbledon Guardian's piece they didn't recognise the scenario from the Merton schools they work in.
"As the largest trade union in Merton for support staff we will support all our members through these attacks and urge them to report every incident.
"It is only when every incident is reported that we can work with Merton Council to improve the situation.
"No one deserves to be vulnerable to attack while they are at work.
"Teaching assistants often have to work with the pupils with the most challenging behaviour and therefore are at the highest risk in the school.
"They do this with upmost professionalism at a time when Michael Gove is attacking their jobs as well as being paid very little for the immense service they provide to our children."
Councillor Martin Whelton, cabinet member for education, said: "Overall behaviour in Merton's schools is good and does go toward creating a safe learning environment.
"Any level of assault is clearly unacceptable.
"Training is given to school staff which has meant we have seen no exclusions from primary schools in the last five years.
"Staff should not be fearful at work and a safe environment is vital.
"As a council we want to ensure our schools are safe and give support to staff when these incidents arise from time to time."
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