Can I refuse to teach a disruptive class or pupil?

Overview

You may teach a class or specific pupils which provide you with 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 specific cases which could arise.

What can I do if a pupil or class is being very disruptive?

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.

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 pupils out of a class.

Where can I look for further support?

We have produced another article in collaboration with the Education Support Partnership on managing behaviour effectively. If you are having issues at your school with a pupil or class please contact us for further advice.

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The information contained within this article is not a complete or final statement of the law.
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