Union calls for action as figures reveal assaults on classroom assistants leap by a third in three years

The Sunday Post reports that violent attacks by pupils on Scotland’s classroom assistants have rocketed by nearly a third in the space of just three years, new figures have revealed.

The 13,000 support workers in primary and secondary schools are now regularly being subjected to bites, punches and verbal abuse from unruly children. An average of 35 attacks were recorded per school day last year according to union chiefs who claim pressure on the workers, who take home a fraction of the wage earned by teachers, is the “untold story of Scottish education”.

One in four Scots children now has additional support needs – a rate which has more than doubled since 2010 – but the number of dedicated staff for these demands has not kept pace.

GMB Scotland organiser Kirsty Nimmo: “The rising levels of aggression and violence against support staff are shocking and the testimonies of our members should serve as a wake-up call to the Scottish Government and councils.

“Aggression and violence at work can never be accepted as normal, irrespective of the working environment, and there needs to be a far greater recognition and respect for the vital public service delivered by these unsung heroes.”

In January it emerged almost 10,000 teachers had also been attacked in Scotland’s schools over the past three years. Of Scotland’s 32 councils, only 20 responded with the data requested so the total number of incidents will be even higher.

From the data provided, there were 6690 incidents of aggression or violence towards support staff in 2016/17, up from 5193 in 2014/15. Among the areas with the biggest increase was Aberdeen which saw its haul of incidents jump from 99 to 517 over the same period.

Read more Union calls for action as figures reveal assaults on classroom assistants leap by a third in three years

Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

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