Teachers assaulted by pupils on a daily basis, Education Secretary told

Some teachers in Scotland’s schools face violence from pupils “every day”, Education Secretary John Swinney has been told.

Labour’s Neil Findlay, a former teacher, said some within the profession had told him of the repeated attacks they faced.

Conservative MSP Michelle Ballantyne told how one teacher contacted her after a metal object was thrown at her, striking her eye and requiring her to be admitted to hospital.

They raised concerns with Mr Swinney in Holyrood, with the Education Secretary stressing while violence was “unacceptable”, most pupils in Scotland’s schools are well behaved.

He said: “We’ve got to be very careful about the narrative that is painted about Scottish education, if there are unacceptable incidents of violence they will be dealt with, but the overwhelming behaviour of our young people is good in our schools, they are a credit to our country and we should celebrate that whilst tackling unacceptable behaviour where it arises.”

But Ms Ballantyne told him the level of violence in schools was now “causing teachers to think twice about their careers”.

She said: “I have recently been contacted by a teacher who has 30 years’ experience and is currently working as a supply teacher who was actually hospitalised after a metal implement was thrown and damaged her eye.”

Mr Findlay stated: “I have got constituents who have approached me who work in our schools who are assaulted by pupils on a daily basis and I do not exaggerate that point.”

Education Secretary John Swinney (Jane Barlow/PA)

Mr Swinney said: “There are unacceptable incidents of violence in our schools and they must be tacked immediately by school leadership.

“But, overwhelmingly, the evidence demonstrates that teachers generally find pupils to be well behaved and violence towards teachers is rare.”

He told MSPs: “I take the issue of violence in schools extremely seriously but I think we have to look at the evidence on all of this.

“There are unacceptable incidents but the overwhelming evidence which was demonstrated in the Behaviour in Scottish Schools 2016 report, which was published in December 2017, indicates teachers find pupils generally well-behaved and that violence towards teachers is very rare.”

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