Rise in attacks on teachers put down to repeat offenders

Figures showing a threefold rise in reported assaults on Borders teachers by pupils have been blamed on a statistical anomaly.

Thursday, 18th January 2018, 8:47 am
Updated Thursday, 18th January 2018, 8:57 am
John Lamont (Scottish Conservative) Duns election hustings.

A freedom of information request brought to light that there were 79 attacks on teachers reported in the last academic year, compared with 25 in 2015-16.

The council responded that the reason the figure was so low for 2015-16 wasn’t because of fewer assaults taking place but “due to a reduction overall in incidents reported”.

Borders MP John Lamont, pictured below, said any attacks on teachers are unnacceptable.

He told us: “It’s important to recognise that these are a relatively small number of instances.

“However, teachers should not be subjected to any form of assault at school.

“It just simply should not be happening.

“What is equally as concerning is that teachers felt unable to report incidents in 2015 for some reason.

“It’s important to make sure teachers feel empowered to tackle this type of behaviour, and it should remain the case that headteachers can expel pupils where necessary.

“However, we also need to look at the root causes for behaviour like this.”

A Scottish Borders Council spokesperson told the Southern: “Some of the increase is down to repeat incidents involving the same pupils and teachers.

“In these instances, the council has taken steps to ensure that the necessary support is in place.”

The spokesperson addded that the council is confident that there was not a significant increase in the actual number of teachers being assaulted from year to year, and that in the case of repeat offenders, it looks to ensure that its “educational provision is appropriate” and “put in place alternative arrangements or specialist support”.

Mr Lamont added: “One measure which should be considered by the Scottish Government is centrally-funding school-based counselling, as is provided to pupils in Wales and Northern Ireland.

“Measures like that would go some way to helping support pupils and tackle this disruptive behaviour.”