A Fife union branch says teaching staff in the Kingdom are experiencing violent and aggressive incidents every week.

Speaking after a national survey of Scotland’s teachers, carried out by the EIS, laid bare the scale of the growing problem in our schools, Fife EIS spokesperson Graeme Keir said the nationwide-picture was a recognisable one.

"Schools are experiencing violent and aggressive incidents every week, and there has been a significant increase across Scotland and in Fife," he said.

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"When the pandemic hit, it damaged the wellbeing of many staff and students. Many schools are struggling to cope with these issues.

"Ten years of austerity meant school systems and staffing has been cut to the bone, and many schools still lack the basic, clear, agreed policies to deal with incidents.

"Even where clear policies are in place, cuts in staffing and teacher workload means incidents are often not dealt with in the way we would want.

"It needs politicians and education leaders at all levels to continue to work hard to reduce the number of these incidents.

"In particular, in the coming months we need to see a commitment from Fife Council to increase funding for additional support needs.”

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The survey was carried out over August and September, and EIS branches in almost 900 schools took part across all sectors – representing around 45 per cent of EIS members throughout Scotland.

Results revealed that 82.7 per cent of respondents said there are incidents of ‘violence and aggression’ every week in school while over 72 per cent stated that the problem has got worse in the last four years, compared to levels before the Covid pandemic.

Fewer than 11 per cent of teachers felt they were ‘always’ supported after a pupil-on-teacher incident had been reported while over a quarter of branches (26.1 per cent) stated that teachers were never supported.

More than half of respondents – 53.3 per cent – reported parent/carer incidents of violence and aggression on teachers happened termly, monthly or weekly and 50.5 per cent of branches said trouble was becoming more frequent.

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Almost all, 99 per cent, agreed that physical and verbal abuse, including persistent low-level disruption, has an effect on pupils' learning and 79 per cent of teachers said they had considered walking away from the profession as a result.

Andrea Bradley, EIS general secretary, will visit Fife on Tuesday to meet with senior education officials and members of the EIS.

She said: "We all want our schools to be nurturing, welcoming places, where pupils can learn and staff can work in a safe and secure environment.

"Sadly, the evidence from this major national survey of EIS branches reveals that violence and aggression is a serious and growing problem in schools across Scotland.

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"This must be treated seriously, and tackled quickly, by the Scottish Government and local authorities to ensure that school pupils and staff can feel safe and be safe in our schools."