Teacher attacks total almost 30,000 in three years

The figures were obtained by the Scottish Liberal Democrats under freedom of information laws.

Teachers have been the victim of almost 30,000 attacks in the past three years, figures show.

The Dundee City Council area saw the highest number of incidents last year with 1094 – although the local authority said that may be due to a new system for recording offences.

It was closely followed by North Lanarkshire, where there were 1070 attacks on teachers.

Attacks have been on the rise in recent years, with 11,627 across Scotland last year, 9312 in 2017/18 and 8500 in 2016/17 – a jump of almost 37%.

The figures were obtained by the Scottish Liberal Democrats under freedom of information laws.

The party’s education spokeswoman Beatrice Wishart called on the Scottish Government to do more to protect staff, adding that cuts to specialist staff who support children with “complex needs” may be exacerbating the problem.

She said: “Teachers and pupils are being let down. Nobody should have to go to work with a reasonable expectation that they might be assaulted.

“Teaching staff have been the victim of attacks on almost 30,000 occasions since 2016/17. These are incredibly concerning figures and many represent vulnerable pupils who are not getting the support they need.

“Teachers work day in, day out to make sure children are given every opportunity to achieve their potential and get on in life, but that has been made harder by the loss of valuable specialist support staff from every school who work closely with pupils, some with complex needs.

“We will never be able to ensure that every child gets the best possible start in life unless we make sure that schools are places where both pupils and staff feel comfortable, confident and ready to learn.

“The Scottish Government must lay out how it will support local authorities and schools in tackling this problem and reverse the unacceptable decrease in support staff numbers on its watch.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “No teacher should have to suffer verbal or physical abuse in schools.

“We want all pupils to respect their peers and staff and are supporting a number of programmes to promote positive relationships and tackle indiscipline, abuse and violence.

“This includes good behaviour management, restorative approaches and programmes to help develop social, emotional and behavioural skills.”

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