Australia

Principals threatened, attacked on the job

A new survey shows Australia's school principals are subject to bullying, threats and physical violence at work.

School principals are being bullied, threatened and assaulted on the job, often by overzealous parents, a new survey shows.

More than 40 per cent of public and private school principals in Australia were threatened with violence in 2017, and about 36 per cent were assaulted, the latest Principal Health and Wellbeing Survey released on Wednesday found.

"I'm hearing of major assaults that get people in hospital, right through to pushing and shoving from parents," report author and Australian Catholic University associate professor Philip Riley told AAP.

"People with hands on throats, up against walls saying, 'I'm going to kill you'. That stuff happens."

Of the 2764 people who responded to the survey, now in it's seventh year, just over 34 per cent reported being bullied.

Prof Riley put this down to parents being worried about their kids and "reacting to their own stress".

"And there's also a sense of 'if anything does wrong, it must be the school's fault'," he added.

The survey also showed chronic overwork was leading to sleep deprivation, burnout and mental health issues.

On average, 53 of principals put in more than 56 hours a week during the school term, and more than a quarter worked up to 65 hours.

Much of this was because of a steady increase in administrative work.

"It's very low-level administration work but it's very time consuming," Prof Riley said.

Stay up to date with SBS NEWS

  • App
  • Subscribe
  • Follow
  • Listen
  • Watch