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Physical assaults on Perth and Kinross teachers almost double in a year according to new figures

Perth and Kinross Council headquarters.
Perth and Kinross Council headquarters.

Teachers in Perth and Kinross have been attacked 400 times in the last year – almost twice as many as the previous year.

There were 214 physical assaults recorded in 2017/18, soaring to a five-year high of 400 in 2018/19.

In 2014/15 there were just 153 incidents but this has rocketed every year since, according to a Freedom of Information response.

Assaults on non-teaching staff also jumped to 572 this year, up from 318 last year and 362 five years ago.

The report also pointed out a new reporting system was introduced in 2018/19, which may have contributed to the spike.

“During academic session 2018/19, a new electronic means of recording distressed and/or challenging behaviour was rolled out to all educational establishments in Perth and Kinross,” it said.

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“In previous years incidents of violence and aggression were reported using a paper based system.”

But Larry Flanagan, general secretary of the teachers union, Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS), said the spike would suggest many incidents going unreported under the old system.

“The more streamlined approach to the recording process could be the main explanation for the significant rise of violent incidents in Perth and Kinross but whilst further investigation is required, if this turns out to be the case it would suggest significant under-reporting in previous years,” he said.

“While the majority of incidents of indiscipline that occur in our schools are low-level in nature there are occasions when more serious incidents involving violence, threat of violence or intimidation can occur.

“With regard to assaults on teachers, the EIS is very clear that a zero tolerance approach should be taken to any such incidents, including police involvement.

“Local authorities have a duty of care to all their employees and it is important they take the necessary steps to ensure that our schools are as safe as possible.”

The attacks involve only a small minority of pupils and staff, said council lifelong learning convener and Conservative councillor Caroline Shiers.

“The majority of our pupils are well behaved, however, we do not tolerate misbehaviour in our schools, especially when it come to the safety and wellbeing of all staff members and pupils,” she said.

“Any incident that is reported is fully investigated and the appropriate action will be taken.

“Less than 1% of the pupil population in Perth & Kinross Council Schools are involved in incidents of violence and aggression towards staff members, which includes teachers.”


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