How Safe are Early Childhood Education Workplaces? Survey Results - Bullying adults

Article Index

Bullying adults

One-quarter of early childhood education staff (25%) in the survey had been or were subject to bullying at their present place of work. At kindergartens and childcare centres a much higher proportion of qualified teachers working in general teaching positions reported being bullied (34%), than managers, senior and head teachers and team leaders (18%) and untrained teachers (20%).

It also occurred at other types of early childhood services.  For example, six out of 26 staff at home-based ECE agencies experienced bullying and four out of the 10 Playcentre staff in the survey.

The nature of the bullying experienced by staff in management and leadership positions mainly concerned defining relationships and setting boundaries with staff reporting directly to them and also the people they reported to, namely: board members (community-based services) and business managers or service owners. Examples of the types of bullying experienced by managers and other staff in leadership positions were: 

  • Older teachers who did not want things to change and rebelled against those trying to make change
  • Board chairman bullying staff
  • Board members not listening or insisting they were right when that was not the case

The nature of the bullying experienced by staff other than managers and leaders mainly concerned personal nastiness and prejudices, being made to feel their job were at risk if they did not comply with unfair and what they saw to be unrealistic expectations, and not having any control over matters that impeded the quality of their work with children.

Examples included:

  • Being talked about because of a different background or culture
  • Being deemed less knowledgeable due to not having children
  • Being looked down on due to not being fully qualified and registered
  • Being afraid that jobs would be lost if meetings outside of work hours were not attended
  • Non-contact time being reduced or taken away
  • Being made to tidy up or carry out other tasks after work hours unpaid
  • Being strongly discouraged from filling in teacher accident reports
  • Being threatened with teacher registration paperwork not being signed off

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