Can I refuse to teach a disruptive class or pupil?


You may be interested to see if you can refuse to teach a disruptive class or specific pupil due to behavioural difficulties.

This might have a detrimental impact on your health and well-being. You are entitled to work in an environment free from violence and disruption and to appropriate access to training and support.

Can I refuse to teach a disruptive class or pupil?

We contacted the Department for Education (DfE) and a spokesperson explained that teachers have no specific right to refuse to teach a disruptive class or pupils.

You may be dismayed to hear this but if allowed it could prove to be very troublesome for schools in terms of timetabling lessons and the number of teachers who could refuse to teach specific classes or pupils for a variety of reasons.

What can I do when teaching a disruptive class or pupil?

You will want the raise the issue with your line manager if it is having a detrimental impact on the learning of other pupils and to your health and wellbeing. Your school should look at putting steps in place to support you and other teachers. Your school should have a behaviour policy and you should be supported by your SLT to ensure that the policy is consistently applied to all pupils.

We have published another article which looks at how you can raise issues with your line manager effectively.

If a group of teachers at your school are having the same issues with a pupil or class your school should look at possible solutions to rectify the issue. This could range from raising an intervention with the pupil and their parent/carer or potentially moving the pupil out of the class.

If you have been assaulted by a pupil there are certain steps which your school should follow. We provide an overview in the following article.

You may be involved in situations where you have to physically move pupils due to safety concerns for yourself and others.

Reasonable force can be used to prevent pupils from hurting themselves or others and from damaging property. The decision on whether or not to physically intervene is down to your professional judgement and should always depend on the individual circumstances. We have published another article on the topic of using reasonable force here.

Refuse to teach a disruptive class: where can I look for further support?

We have produced another article in collaboration with the Education Support on managing behaviour effectively.

If you are having issues at your school with a pupil or class please contact us for further advice.

Was this article helpful?

The information contained within this article is not a complete or final statement of the law.
While Edapt has sought to ensure that the information is accurate and up-to-date, it is not responsible and will not be held liable for any inaccuracies and their consequences, including any loss arising from relying on this information. This article may contain information sourced from public sector bodies and licensed under the Open Government Licence. If you are an Edapt subscriber with an employment-related issue, please contact us and we will be able to refer you to one of our caseworkers.