Funding to tackle classroom violence amounts to '£360 per school'

Scotland's education secretary announced nearly £1m in funding to tackle bad behaviour in schools.

Funding to tackle Scottish classroom violence amounts to ‘£360 per school’, EIS says Scottish Government

New funding by the Scottish Government to tackle violence in the classroom will amount to just £360 per school, according to a trade union.

The EIS made the claim after the education secretary gave a statement to parliament about bad behaviour in schools.

It comes a day after a major report, commissioned by the Scottish Government, found rising levels of verbal and physical abuse by pupils.

It revealed more than half (59%) had dealt with physical aggression between students while 43% had experienced physical violence between pupils in the classroom in the last week.

The survey prompted Jenny Gilruth to give a statement to MSPs on Wednesday setting out the Government’s plans to tackle the bad behaviour.

The education secretary announced £900,000 in new funding for local authorities to train support staff and develop behaviour management strategies.

She told Holyrood: “It is important we keep the big picture in mind, with research published yesterday showing staff reporting generally good behaviour amongst pupils.

“However, the status quo is not an option and the plan I am setting out today will provide the support necessary to help tackle these problems at the root.”

Gilruth said schools should be a safe place for everyone.

Pupils and teachers are facing higher rates of aggression in Scotland's schools, a new report has warned.iStock

“No teacher, or support assistant should face violence or abusive behaviour at work,” she said.

“We cannot suggest that the pandemic has not exacerbated inequity and nor must we blame it for these challenges. Schools, equally, can’t do this all alone; they need help.

“We have to enact a national plan which better supports our teachers and support staff in the workplace; recognising the role of local government as employer.

“And that plan has to better protect the learning outcomes for our young people – the vast majority of whom are well-behaved.

“That is the prize that better behaviour in our schools can deliver – and I look forward to working with our partners to deliver just that.”

The funding comes as part of a multi-year plan that will set out actions at national, local and school levels to improve pupil behaviour.

That will include better recording of behaviour in schools as well as a dedicated approach to responding to issues around misogyny.

‘It won’t touch the sides’

EIS general secretary Andrea Bradley said the announcement didn’t contain a detailed plan to tackle the issue.

She said: “Today’s statement did not contain a great deal of detail on the practical steps to be taken and the increased support to be delivered to schools to tackle pupil indiscipline, aggression and violence.

“The cabinet secretary did announce an additional £900k for training, to be split between Scotland’s 32 local authorities.

“This amounts to less than £30,000 per local authority or worse still, £360 per school. It won’t nearly touch the sides. We look forward to learning what further resource will follow to fund the employment of additional teachers and support for teachers, as they endeavour to meet the needs of children and young people amidst environments that are putting their health and safety directly at risk at the same time as underlining the quality of pupils’ learning.”

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