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Bullying violence young man hitting adult white

Teachers are being left more vulnerable to assaults and attacks from pupils by the failure of the Scottish Government to meet its commitment to publish guidance for schools on restraint of pupils and physical intervention.

Despite promising to publish advice by the end of 2023, schools still have no official guidance on how they should handle situations where a teacher may feel compelled to intervene and physically restrain a pupil or pupils for their own or others’ safety.

Members of NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union will condemn the Scottish Government’s “complete abdication of responsibility” for helping to keep teachers and pupils safe at the Union’s Annual Conference in Harrogate today.

This is in a context of rising rates of physical abuse and violence in Scotland’s schools.

The Union’s latest data shows that nearly four in ten teachers reported experiencing violence or physical abuse from pupils in the previous 12 months. 93% said the number of pupils exhibiting physically violent and abusive behaviours had increased in the previous 12 months.

Dr Patrick Roach, NASUWT General Secretary, said:

“This much need guidance has been in the pipeline since 2020, yet four years later still nothing has materialised while teachers are experiencing increasing levels of serious disruption and violence in their schools.

“Every day teachers across Scotland are faced with situations where they feel they have to intervene to physically restrain a pupil to try to prevent them hurting themselves or others. They are stepping in at considerable risk to themselves and we regularly deal with casework where teachers have either been injured or been the subject of disciplinary action or allegations stemming from an intervention.

“Teachers are being expected to put their safety and sometimes, their careers, on the line to keep their pupils safe, but they are doing so without the backing, training and advice they need and have a right to expect.

“The Scottish Government must fulfil its responsibilities to teachers and commit to working with us to get this guidance published as soon as possible.”

Mike Corbett, NASUWT Scotland National Official, said:  

“In the absence of any national guidance we have ended up with a patchwork of local policies and advice which frequently contradict one another and which are leading to inconsistencies in the way interventions are managed across schools.

“On a matter where the safety of children and school staff is on the line this is dangerous and unfair. We need a nationally agreed approach which upholds the duty of care schools have to both teachers and pupils and which comes accompanied with training and resources for school staff.”


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