Scottish Liberal Democrat education spokesperson Beatrice Wishart MSP today revealed that almost 30,000 attacks on teachers have occurred in the last three years, describing the figures as “incredibly concerning”.
Freedom of information requests by the Scottish Liberal Democrats have found that since 2016/17 there have been 29,439 attacks on teaching staff.
The number of attacks has risen 37%, from 8,500 in 2016/17 to 11,627 in 2018/19.
Dundee recorded 1,094 incidents last year – the most of any local authority.
The figures come against a drop in the number of specialist support teachers. Scottish Government figures show the number of ASN teachers are at a record low of 2,862. That compares with 3,942 in 2009. Meanwhile the number of pupils recorded as having an additional support need has increased by 68% since 2012.
Commenting, Ms Wishart said:
“Teachers and pupils are being let down. Nobody should have to go to work with a reasonable expectation that they might be assaulted.
“Teaching staff have been the victim of attacks on almost 30,000 occasions since 2016/17. These are incredibly concerning figures and many represent vulnerable pupils who are not getting the support they need.
“Teachers work day in day out to make sure children are given every opportunity to achieve their potential and get on in life, but that has been made harder by the loss of valuable specialist support staff from every school who work closely with pupils, some with complex needs.
“We will never be able to ensure that every child gets the best possible start in life unless we make sure that schools are places where both pupils and staff feel comfortable, confident and ready to learn.
“The Scottish Government must lay out how it will support local authorities and schools in tackling this problem and reverse the unacceptable decrease in support staff numbers on its watch.”