Scotland’s teacher recruitment crisis has been blamed on the “intolerable burden of poverty”.
Fife teacher Kevin Campbell said deprivation is chief among the reasons for behaviour in schools reaching an all-time low and severely affecting the recruitment and retention of school staff.
The Levenmouth Academy teacher revealed he witnessed every day the consequences of a community living with poverty and issues with drugs, alcohol and violence.
He claimed the effects are made worse by “never ending cycles of budget cuts”.
Mr Campbell is president of the Scottish Secondary Teachers’ Association and will address its annual congress on the issue on Friday.
He said: “Pupils are extreme in their disrespect for staff and each other, there are severe issues with drugs and many pupils are unable to control their violence.
“Staff are unable to cope, learning and teaching is way from being top of the agenda.
“The consequences of poverty are exacerbated by never ending cycles of budget cuts. Support services such as specialised pupil support, ie behaviour, sense impairment and English as a second language are virtually non-existent.”
Mr Campbell, who has been a biology teacher in the Levenmouth area for 13 years, said teachers are continually being put in unacceptably stressful conditions as workloads spiral.
“The Scottish Government and, at their behest, SQA and Education Scotland seem to have no cognisance of just how much a teacher can cope with,” he said.
“To do our job right we need proper funding in our schools, we need time to teach, we need resources and experts to cater for the complex and diverse issues our children can suffer.
“We need appropriate equipment to teach our specialist subject. We need colleagues in school offices and pupil support assistants in classrooms…”
He added: “There are direct links between poverty, attainment and behaviour. We need the Government to tackle these issues directly.
“The levels of disruption in classrooms cannot be allowed to continue.”
In January Scottish councils had to readvertise 2,275 teaching posts they had been unable to fill.
A spokesperson for the Scottish Government said most pupils behave well in school but that teachers should not have to tolerate disruptive behaviour.
“Our refreshed guidance to prevent exclusios places greater importance on preventative approaches,” he said.
“We are also committing £750 million during the course of this parliament to tackle the poverty-related attainment gap and ensure every child in Scotland has an equal chance to succeed – including another £120m pupil equity funding direct to schools this year.”