MORE than 90 per cent of teachers say they have been bullied by colleagues.
The teachers also claim they have been exposed to unmanageable workloads and have been ignored, frozen out or excluded from decision making.
The frightening picture of dysfunctional relationships and low morale in schools is exposed in a new national online survey - the first of its kind in Australia.
More than 80 per cent of teachers say they have had their personal integrity undermined, responsibilities removed or added without consultation and have had concerns about unfair treatment, harassment and bullying dismissed.
According to survey responses the bullies - in order - are school executive staff, colleagues, principals and parents.
One in five teachers said they had had personal property attacked, such as their car or their office, and a similar number complain about physical abuse or threats of violence.
Many teachers also claimed they had been subjected to insults about their political or religious convictions at school.
Survey boss Dan Riley of the University of New England described the results as "frightening"
"We didn't expect to find what we did - we have a problem - teachers are not happy and we believe this is very serious," he said.
Dr Riley and Professor Deirdre Duncan from the Australian Catholic University surveyed more than 800 teachers in government, Catholic and independent schools.
The most serious findings were:
NINETY-one per cent of teachers said their mental or physical health had suffered;
NINETY per cent said they had been forced to deal with unmanageable workloads;
NINETY per cent said they had been frozen out, ignored or excluded from decision-making;
EIGHTY-eight per cent said their integrity had been undermined;
EIGHTY-seven per cent said they had lost or gained responsibilities without consultation; and
EIGHTY-three per cent said their concerns about unfair treatment, bullying and harassment had been dismissed.
Ninety-five per cent of teachers said they were not told when their work was unsatisfactory.
They also complained about superiors who frequently questioned their decisions and judgments, set tasks with unreasonable or impossible targets and deadlines and attempted to belittle or undermine their work.
"This is the first national electronic survey to seek the experiences of support staff, teachers, executives and principals in relation to staff bullying in both government and non-government schools," Dr Riley said.
"There's an enormous amount of pressure on schools to do more and more with less and less.
"And parents, with their rising expectations, are quite often prepared to challenge how things are done in schools."
A growing number of experts believe bullying is now more common between staff in schools than it is between students.
Also on the same story worth reading: National survey aims to remedy bullying of teachers