Thousands of teachers assaulted in classrooms, union says

Not enough is being done to tackle indiscipline in schools, with thousands of teachers being subjected to violent attacks each year, according to a union.

Speaking at the Scottish Labour conference in Dundee on Friday, Jane Peckham, national officer for teachers’ union NASUWT, said action must be taken to better support teachers in classrooms.

The union said there were nearly 6,000 assaults on teachers in schools in Scotland 2016-17, with the figure rising by around 500 in 2017-18.

In its most recent annual survey of its members, NASUWT said 87% believe there is a “widespread problem” in Scottish schools with regard to indiscipline, with 76% believing the issue exists in their own school.

A total of 71% also said they had considered quitting the teaching profession within the last year.

Ms Peckham said there was a lack of consistency in behaviour policies across schools.

“Teachers cannot teach and pupils cannot learn in an environment where there is disruption and violence,” Ms Peckham said.

“Diligent, hard-working people are going to work every day to do a job, to educate our young people and every single day they face the threat of assault.

“It’s something that is simply unacceptable and we need to find a way to resolve that issue.

“If we look in addition to that at the stubbornly high level of temporary school exclusions, it could be argued that education in this country is at a crisis because of the level of indiscipline in schools.”

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