'Worrying' increase of 'violence and aggression' in Scottish schools

A survey found EIS branches experiencing weekly incidents of violence in day-to-day school life had seen an 82.7% increase.

EIS survey reveals increase in weekly incidents of ‘violence and aggression’ in Scottish schools iStock

There has been a “worrying” increase in incidents of “violence and aggression” in Scottish schools, a survey has found.

The Education Institute of Scotland (EIS) survey, carried out over August and September, represented around 45% of members across 900 schools throughout Scotland.

The results found that branches experiencing weekly incidents of violence in day-to-day school life had seen an 82.7% increase.

Fewer than 11% of branches felt that teachers were “always” supported after a pupil-on-teacher ‘violent and aggressive’ incident had been reported.

Meanwhile, over a quarter of branches said that teachers were never supported after aggressive incidents.

The survey also found that almost 80% of branches reported that members had considered leaving teaching as a result of violence and aggression in school.

EIS general secretary Andrea Bradley said: “We all want our schools to be nurturing, welcoming places, where pupils can learn and staff can work in a safe and secure environment.

“Sadly, the evidence from this major national survey of EIS branches reveals that violence and aggression is a serious and growing problem in schools across Scotland.

“This must be treated seriously, and tackled quickly, by the Scottish Government and local authorities to ensure that school pupils and staff can feel safe and be safe in our schools.”

Ms Bradley added that societal issues are a major factor in violence, saying: “There must be a societal solution if the problem of in-school violence is to be tackled successfully.

“The challenges in schools reflect the challenges that our young people face in society and in their communities where cuts to services continue daily, and schools cannot be expected to plug the glaring gaps and solve these difficulties alone.”

The EIS confirmed they will be sharing the results of this major survey with the Scottish Government and with each of Scotland’s local authorities.

The organisation said their recommendations will set out a “roadmap” towards a better future for school.

Education Secretary Jenny Gilruth said: “Since my appointment as Education Secretary, I’ve been clear on the importance of improving behaviour and relationships in schools, which is why I am bringing together teachers, parents, local authority representatives, unions and other stakeholders to discuss these issues and develop a series of actions.

“The third summit on behaviour and relationships in schools will take place next week and will coincide with publication of the Behaviour in Scottish Schools Research.

“We have commissioned this research to provide a robust national picture in relation to behaviour in Scotland’s schools.

“My aim is that, in partnership with the profession and local authority partners, we’ll be able to come to a set of conclusions focussed on the practical action needed to make progress – and I am very grateful to everyone who has engaged so positively in the process so far.”

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