COUNCILLORS have pledged to tackle rising numbers of violent incidents in Fife schools after footage of attacks circulated on social media.

Maria Lloyd, head of education and children's services at Fife Council, told last week's Education Scrutiny Committee that the issue was "not something unique" to the Kingdom.

She added that the voice of young people have been taken into consideration and that a multi-agency approach will be used to ensure the safety of pupils and staff.

"The number of reported violent incidents in schools has risen in the past two years and it's really important we understand why," she said.

"We have made it easier for incidents to be reported which should help us gather more data and information, but we are also listening to young people in a much more focussed way to hear their views on what causes these incidents and how they could feel safer at school.

"A multi-agency approach is vital.

"This issue is not just about our schools, it's about our wider communities and all the relationships our young people have in their lives with parents, carers and peers."

She continued: "We have set up a multi-agency group, bringing together partners including police, NHS and the voluntary sector to look at how how we can work together and share expertise and experience.

"As part of that work we're looking at the current curriculum around personal and social development in schools and reviewing our policy on social media.

"We've also taken immediate action to increase the time our pupil support assistants can spend outwith the classroom to specifically support young people and promote positive behaviour."

Reports presented to the committee found that recorded incidents of violent behaviour had more than doubled between 2021 and 2022.

Councillors had first recommended action in January after a shocking video of a classroom assault at Waid Academy in Anstruther was made public.

The attack was condemned by Holyrood and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

The resulting investigation by Shelagh McLean, Head of Education and Children's services, showed that the number of violent incidents reported in Fife schools, including all those involving staff and pupils, have risen from 1207 in 2021 to 2985 in 2022, with 639 already recorded this year.

Earlier this month Cllr Aude Boubaker-Calder, who represents the Dunfermline Central ward and is the Fife Liberal Democrat Education Spokesperson, branded the figures as "a crisis in our schools".

Committee Chair Cllr Kathleen Leslie said she was "reassured" to see action being taken and welcomed suggestions for wider community support, particularly during school holidays.

She said: "Having visited a number of our schools personally over the last few months, it's important to recognise that the vast majority of our pupils are very good, and at school trying to do their best.

"I very much support the multi-agency approach so we can better understand approaches across the various services in working with disaffected children and young people who are displaying behavioural issues. School should be a safe place for all young people.

"The support has to be in place for those that are struggling and finding it tough for whatever reasons, and can result in behaviour that's not acceptable."

Progress reports will be brought to the committee for discussion in the next few months.