Change is urgently needed to tackle growing problem of violence and aggression in schools, say union reps

EIS Union poster for public meeting on November 28 (EIS Fife//Twitter)EIS Union poster for public meeting on November 28 (EIS Fife//Twitter)
EIS Union poster for public meeting on November 28 (EIS Fife//Twitter)
Change is urgently needed to tackle the growing problem of student violence and aggression in schools, say local teaching union representatives.

According to a new national survey from EIS, the largest teacher trade union in Scotland, more than 80 per cent of branches nationwide are reporting incidents of violence and aggression every week in school.

More than 70 per cent said the amount of violence and aggression has grown in the last four years compared to before the pandemic.

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The numbers are part of a national, big picture survey but Graeme Keir, EIS spokesperson in Fife said the figures reflect the current situation in schools across the Kingdom.

“Sadly, this national picture is one that we recognise in Fife,” he said. “Schools are experiencing violent and aggressive incidents every week, and there has been a significant increase across Scotland and in Fife.”

He continued: “When the pandemic hit, it damaged the wellbeing of many staff and students. Many schools are struggling to cope with these issues.”

He blamed years of government austerity for cutting school systems and staff to the bone leaving many schools with a lack of clear policies to deal with incidents.

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“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,” he said. “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.”

In the face of the 100-page national survey report, EIS will share the results of their survey with the Scottish Government and each of Scotland’s local authorities – including Fife.

On Tuesday November 28, Andrea Bradley, EIS General Secretary, will visit Fife to meet with senior education officials and members of the EIS to discuss the union’s “roadmap for tackling the issue.”

“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,” Ms Bradley said. “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.”

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“Our young people, and all those working in our schools, have the right to expect action to address the challenges identified in our report: put simply, Education shouldn’t hurt,” Ms Bradley said.

The public meeting organised by the union will be held at Lochgelly High School at 3:50pm on Tuesday, November 28.