that work with pupils who have special needs
should be rewarded for their work with higher pay and greater protection, it has been claimed.
According to public services union Unison, around half of 500 learning assistants polled by the organisation had faced abuse and violence from pupils in the past year and as such is calling for better training and support to help them deal with such behaviour.
"Many of our members work with children with special educational needs, often with challenging behaviour. Schools must have very clear policies and procedures in place to deal with this and to support staff," said Christina McAnea, Unison's head of education.
"Teaching assistants work long hours, often on low pay. It is shameful that they should also be expected to put themselves at risk of being attacked or abused," she added.
Unison is also calling on better pay for public sector workers and Ms McAnea claimed it is "a disgrace" that teaching assistants have been offered only a 0.5 per cent increase in pay.
Britain and Europe's biggest public sector union, Unison has more than 1.3 million members.