Ministers accused of ‘abandoning’ teachers amid escalating school violence

Teaching unions have been warning that their members face increasing violence in schools.

The Conservatives will accuse ministers of “abandoning” teachers amid rising violence in schools during a Scottish Parliament debate on Wednesday.

Education secretary Jenny Gilruth recently said violence in schools is a “really tricky challenge” and not an issue she can “solve overnight”.

The First Minister has also said the Government is “very sincere” about tackling the problem.

Teaching unions have been warning that their members face increasing violence in schools, with the assistant secretary of the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS), David Belsey, saying some teachers have been left with broken bones and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Conservative education spokesman Liam Kerr said: “Violence in schools has continued to escalate, with teachers paying the price for the SNP’s abject failure to tackle the issue.

“It’s totally intolerable that so many teachers are being physically attacked at work – with some ending up in hospital with broken bones.”

He continued: “The SNP have abandoned our hardworking teachers, yet again showing how badly they have dropped the ball on education for 16 years.

“It should be a source of shame for the SNP that teachers are terrified to go work and some have suffered horrendous injuries.

“The SNP need to stop dragging their heels and urgently start listening to the solutions Scottish Conservatives, the unions, the teachers and so many others keep telling them so that no more teachers or pupils suffer.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “Behaviour in schools has changed post-pandemic – as has been documented by the former chief inspector in England and by the schools’ minister in Wales. The report from the Centre for Social Justice published earlier this year evidences the fraying link between home and school post-pandemic. The Scottish Government has made significant progress in responding to these issues.

“In recent months, we have convened the Headteachers Taskforce, brought together three national summits on behaviour in schools, published the Behaviour in Scottish Schools Research and committed to publish new guidance on mobile phones in schools.

“Earlier this week, the First Minister and education secretary launched the Gender Based Violence in Schools Framework as part of a commitment in the week of International Women’s Day to eradicate misogyny in Scotland’s schools.

“Work is well under way to bring forward a joint national action plan with Cosla (Convention of Scottish Local Authorities) to set out the range of actions needed at both local and national level, which will be published in the spring, directly informed by teaching unions, including the EIS.

“It is important that everyone with an interest in Scotland’s schools works together to solve these issues, which will require national leadership, strong action at a local level and parental engagement to support good behaviour and attendance.”

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