Alarm at city classroom attacks

TEACHERS in Glasgow have suffered hundreds of vicious attacks from pupils in the past five years.

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Teachers are facing increasing numbers of attacks in city schools
Teachers are facing increasing numbers of attacks in city schools

An Evening Times investigation today exposes the shocking scale of violence in our city’s classrooms.
Our figures show that Glasgow City Council recorded 272 assaults by pupils on teachers at primary and secondary schools.
The data includes incidents where teachers have been attacked with a weapon, as well as those injured by unarmed pupils.
School staff in Glasgow faced at least 60 incidents of violence in the 2012/13 term.
And city schools have recorded 13 attacks on primary teachers and 13 on secondary teachers in the last 10 months.
Although figures suggest the number of violent attacks are falling, assaults in primary schools now account for more than half of all classroom attacks.
Union bosses told the Evening Times the figures “cause significant alarm” among school staff and more needed to be done to protect teachers.
Hugh Donnelly, from the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS), said: “Incl-usive education is about consultation, resources, openness, individual support. It is not the same as physical containment under the one roof.
“The EIS supports inclusive education, but the ongoing cuts have reduced the support available for children with significant emotional and behavioural needs.
“Including more vulner-able children into main-stream schools combined with increasing class sizes is leading to teachers finding it increasingly difficult to cope.”
Glasgow City Council’s records, released under Freedom of Information, reveal the extent of pupil violence against teachers.
Our investigation found in the past five years, assaults on teachers by primary school children account for 52% of city classroom attacks.
City exclusion figures, released to the Evening Times, are collected under three categories:
l Physical assault using improvised weapon
l Physical assault using weapon
l Physical assault with no weapon
The figures were not broken down by category.As well as the fear of being attacked with weapons, teachers may fall victim to serious assaults by young pupils who punch, kick, bite and push.
Children also arm them-selves with any classroom items at hand for attacks on teachers.
Mr Donnelly, secretary of the EIS Glasgow local association, believes the true scale of violence is higher than 272 attacks.
He said: “If anything there may well be under-reporting of incidents due to the reluctance of teachers to report incidents.
“We receive accounts from teachers about the concerns that they have for their own safety and the safety of their pupils. Teachers continue to do a difficult job under difficult circumstances. This is about the risk to teachers and all their pupils.
“It is also about a quality learning environment where pupils feel safe, happy and secure. Violence in the classroom puts that at risk.”
In 2009/10, there were 32 assaults on primary teachers and 36 assaults on secondary teachers.

IN 2010/11, there were 44 attacks on primary teachers and 29 incidents of violence again-st secondary teachers.
Our investigation found the number of violent attacks have steadily fallen since. In 2011/12, there were 25 incidents of violence against primary teachers and 24 attacks on secondary teachers.
However, union leaders say more must be done to tackle the threat of violence in the classroom.
Mr Donnelly added: “The resources available for head teachers and managers to meet the needs of these children is diminishing and putting schools under intolerable pressures.
“Schools need resources for teachers. Smaller class sizes, support staff and the necessary training and professional development will allow the challenges to be addressed. Violence is not part of the job.”
A Glasgow City Council spokesman said: “The safety and welfare of pupils and staff is of paramount importance. Thankfully it is extremely rare for one of these incidents to occur, but there are clear procedures in place to deal with them.
“With overall pupil exclusions down by 65% over the past six years, assaults against teachers form a tiny proportion of the incidents that lead to pupils being excluded from school.”

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