Student violence towards teaching assistants in UK schools: a case of gender-based violence

Amanda Holt, Jenny Birchall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In recent years significant research attention has focused on the problem of student violence in schools and, to a lesser extent, on its relationship to gender-based violence. However, student violence towards teaching assistants has not been studied, despite evidence suggesting that teaching assistants are at significantly more risk from student violence than other staff members. In this article, we draw on data from 16 in-depth interviews with teaching assistants who have experienced student violence. We conclude that violence towards teaching assistants is ignored, in both research and in schools, precisely because of the feminized and under-valued nature of the role, and argue that the continual victimization of teaching assistants diminishes their status further. We highlight its parallels with gender-based violence and argue that applying such a framework is key to recognizing the personal and social harms that this violence causes and the organizational responses that leaves teaching assistants particularly vulnerable.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-68
Number of pages15
Issue number1
Early online date12 Nov 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2023

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