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Nearly 30% of teachers in Aberdeen say they’ve been assaulted by pupils in the last year

Tuesday October 1st 2019 at 9:09 AM

Almost 30% of teachers in Aberdeen say they were assaulted physically or verbally by pupils in the 2018/19 school year, according to new statistics.

18% of teachers said physical or verbal abuse was a daily occurrence in their schools.

A survey of 3,000 teachers carried out by the Aberdeen EIS Local Association showed, in the last 5 years, more than half had been attacked, with forms ranging from being punched and kicked to being spat on.

Teachers experiencing verbal abuse was 53.75%, with 159 members reporting abuse around a protected characteristic covered by 2010 Equalities Act. This included threats of violence, sexually explicit remarks and personal insults.

The study also revealed 37.23% agreed the abuse had impacted on the health and well-being, while 21.65% strongly agreed.

Moreover, around 45% of teachers either agreed or strongly agreed that they had considered leaving the profession.

Written responses from union members revealed they frequently feel unprepared to deal with abuse in the classroom and a lack of teaching assistants was impacting on their ability to control pupils.

One teacher said “inclusion is right-no question, but it cannot be done with existing levels of staffing and funding” while another claimed “more support staff to meet the needs of the children are needed. More and more children with additional support needs are in mainstream classes”.

Ron Constable, Aberdeen EIS Local Association Secretary said: “ Teaching staff should never have to go to their employment with the fear of being verbally or physically abused, but it is clear from this survey that 18% of teachers are reporting that it is a daily occurrence in their schools.”

The EIS has now called on Aberdeen City Council to engage in meaningful negotiations with them to fully discuss the findings and look for positive resolutions.

A spokesperson for the local administration said: “The safety of our teaching staff is of paramount importance to the Council. Teaching and support staff in schools receive advice and guidance to ensure they are equipped to diffuse situations and reduce levels of risk, with these arrangements kept under regular review.

“We engage regularly with trade unions and are committed to continuing that positive dialogue with a view to continuing to protect and support staff.”

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