Almost 500 Queensland school staff claimed violence compensation last year.

Stats show 478 Department of Education staff claimed WorkCover compensation for injuries suffered through occupational violence last financial year, and the Queensland Teachers' Union (QTU) says those numbers are massively under-reported.

“People tend to treat occupational violence as part of the job, and so they fail to report, particularly through the WorkCover process, when in fact that's exactly what they should be doing,” QTU president Kevin Bates has told the ABC.

Deakin University researchers recently ran a nationwide study of violence against school principals and found that rates of violence have increased every year since 2011.

“They started off at very high levels, much higher than the general population and they're now orders of magnitude higher, about 7.5 times higher than the general population,” Deakin’s Professor Philip Riley says.

“Now we're up to a bit more than 10 times the population rate, which is a very worrying increase in such a short amount of time.”

The number of WorkCover claims by school staff for occupational violence actually fell by about 45 from the 2018–19 financial year, but the experts say this is likely because of a transition to home learning.

The Queensland Government launched a Principal Health and Wellbeing Strategy earlier this year, and the education department says all staff are backed by its occupational violence prevention procedure.

The issue is not expected to be confined to the state system, but the official government data does not include claims made by independent or Catholic school staff.