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The NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union is warning Glasgow City Council that it will have no option but to consider strike action at Bannerman High School if effective steps are not taken to address violent and disruptive pupil behaviour and protect the safety and welfare of teachers.
 
NASUWT members at the school have been engaged in action short of strike action since October 2021 as a result of the failure of the employer to address persistent verbal and physical assaults and violence against staff from pupils.
 
Despite this action and ongoing attempts from the NASUWT to work with management at the school, incidents of violence, verbal abuse and intimidation against staff are continuing. In just the few weeks since the return after the Easter holidays six violent incident forms have been submitted by staff to management.
 
Behaviour policies, which were developed in consultation with the NASUWT, are not being followed by management at the school, with little effective action taken against pupils who are persistently disruptive. Staff report management consistently failing to attend and support them when serious incidents of violence or disruption occur and of allowing a culture where swearing at and disrespect towards staff is accepted, along with a refusal to follow rules around uniform and conduct.

Data shows that Bannerman was the only mainstream Glasgow secondary school which did not exclude any pupils in the 2020/21 academic year, however, an FOI obtained by the NASUWT shows that there were 20 incidents of violence, aggression and challenging behaviour logged on Glasgow City Council’s Health and Safety Management (HANDS) system during that period. This is despite the school being closed by Covid lockdowns for part of that year. In the 2019/20 academic year there were 41 incidents recorded at the school.
 
Dr Patrick Roach, NASUWT General Secretary, said:
 
“Members at Bannerman are increasingly worried for their personal safety and angry at the failure of their employer and Glasgow City Council to fulfil their duty to protect them and the majority of well-behaved pupils from violence and disruption.
 
“The attitude appears to be one of blaming teachers for poor behaviour, rather than holding pupils accountable, and this is being aided and abetted by the misuse and abuse of restorative behaviour conversations, which members feel have become synonymous with no punishment or sanctions for unacceptable behaviour.
 
“No teacher should go to work with the expectation that they will be either verbally or physically abused. All teachers are entitled to dignity at work and a safe working environment.
 
“The learning experiences of the majority of pupils are being undermined and disrupted by the City Council’s failure to deal appropriately with the actions of a minority.
 
“We have given the employer every opportunity to address these issues. While our action short of strike action is supporting members to take more control of their own approaches to tackling disruptive behaviour, management needs to take responsibility.
 
“All our members want is to be able to get on with their jobs free from the threat of violence and abuse at work.”
 
Mike Corbett, NASUWT National Official Scotland, said:
 
“Evidence shows that positive pupil behaviour stems from a whole school approach where managements lead and support staff in maintaining good discipline.
 
“We want the behaviour policies which we agreed with the school to be enacted and consistently enforced, so that pupils are not only encouraged to reflect on their own behaviour, but that there are clear and consistently enforced sanctions for verbal abuse or physical violence.
 
“Members should not be treated with suspicion and disdain by their employer simply for standing up for their right to work in safety, free from abuse and harassment.
 
“Enabling a culture of abuse and harassment fails both pupils and staff and our members are not prepared to gamble with their welfare any longer.”
 

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