Schools secretary Ed Balls told the NASUWT conference this week the 'cyber bullying taskforce' for England will seek ways to stop pupils targeting teachers. He added that he wants cyber bullying of teachers to be a 'serious disciplinary offence.'
Until now, the government taskforce has focused on how cyber bullying in England affects children.
The measures being suggested by the government include the setting up of a hotline on which teachers could report incidents of cyber bullying, and examining how government could work with the internet industry to combat the problem.
Mr Balls told the NASUWT conference: 'Bullying is never acceptable and we will do all we can to prevent it in all its forms. The law requires head teachers to take action to prevent all forms of bullying. It also gives school staff statutory power to punish bullying whether that occurs in or out of school. We already give schools advice on the practical measures they can take to tackle bullying, including guidance on dealing with cyber bullying. But I want to go further.'
NASUWT general secretary Chris Keates said she welcomed the news that the taskforce was to look at teachers' experiences. 'I am pleased the government accepts that we need strong policies in schools which focus on teachers. Increasingly, teachers' lives are being destroyed by what pupils are doing.' She added: 'Relying on industry self-regulation to resolve this problem is the equivalent of waiting for hell to freeze over.'
A survey this month by teaching union ATL found 16 per cent of teachers had been victims of cyber bullying and of those more than half had received silent calls or been the victims of videoing, which has been posted on websites such as YouTube.