A FIFE MSP has claimed teachers are being bitten, scratched and punched by children “as young as five” in Scotland’s classrooms.

Murdo Fraser read the allegations, which appeared in a letter sent to him by an anonymous teacher, at Holyrood last week during a debate on violence in schools.

He did not name the school or staff member but told parliament that she claimed teachers were “literally too scared to come back to work” and are, on a daily basis, “sworn at, spat at, punched, scratched and bitten by children as young as five”.

The letter added: “I have colleagues who have had multiple trips to hospital as a result of attacks from a pupil.

“There are teachers in the school who have been off sick for weeks with physical injuries or with stress and anxiety.”

The writer said her school was “simply no longer a safe place to work” and that those in authority don’t understand the scale of the issue. She continued: “This isn’t just an awful situation for the teachers, it is terrible for the majority of children who just want to get on and learn.

“Their life opportunities are being ruined by a small minority of disruptive children.

“The parents of these kids offer us no support and, in many cases, simply don’t have the skills themselves to deal with their own children.

“What is so frustrating is that we lack the tools to deal with the problem.”

She also said teachers were not permitted to exclude children and encouraged Education Secretary Jenny Gilruth to “visit a school like mine”.

Ms Gilruth, a Fife MSP and a former modern studies teacher at St Columba’s High School in Dunfermline, said: “Having taught disruptive classes in my previous life as a teacher, I recognise how that can impact others learning, but I suppose my question is this: Is the answer that we have an increase in the number of young people who are excluded?

“I am not necessarily sure that having a huge increase in the number of exclusions would be a signal of success.”

Mr Fraser said the answer could be “alternative provision” for problem children and that a distinction had to be made between those with serious development issues or learning difficulties and students who have behavioural or discipline issues.

Alex Rowley, Labour MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife, called on the Scottish Government to bring forward “an education recovery plan that recognises the need for more additional support teachers and to address the teacher pupil ratio, to cut class sizes and to recognise the major pressures on our schools”.

He wrote to Fife Council’s Director of Education, Carrie Lindsay, regarding his concerns over reported increases in bullying and violence in the Kingdom’s schools.

She replied that possible actions were being discussed and talks continuing with trade unions, adding that all forms of violence towards employees was “unacceptable” and the council would act to reduce risk.

Mr Rowley said the situation was already at “breaking point” due to a “litany of broken promises and harmful decisions” from the Scottish Government.

“These include failures to deliver on class sizes, teacher non-contact time, support for pupils with additional support needs and mental health support for young people, as well as the failure to address harmful online content, continuing inequalities and cuts to our youth services," he said.

"In our schools and across our entire education system Scotland’s children are being let down.”

Graeme Keir, of Fife EIS teaching union branch, said members had been “very concerned for sometime” about an increase in violent incidents. 

He continued: "Teachers, and families, are bearing the brunt of some very disturbing and worrying behaviours amongst some young people. Some teachers are experiencing violence and aggression on a daily basis.”

He added: “We urgently need more support staff and support teachers to help meet the needs of pupils.”