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Cost of school violence soars

SOARING levels of school violence have driven a staggering 45 per cent surge in compensation payments, according to Scotland’s largest teaching union today.

The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) says that £541,499 was paid in compensation to members who had suffered a workplace injury over the last year, a rise of £245,902 from the £295,597 given in 2022.

While the majority of the cash continues to be as a result of claims arising from trips, slips and falls in Scotland’s schools, the EIS has expressed concern at a growing trend to violence against teachers, meaning that compensation paid as a result of assaults has soared to 40 per cent of the total.

Attacks that have led to payouts include a teacher paid £6,020 after a pupil punched them leaving them with a broken jaw, one who was paid £4,500 after a headbutt smashed their teeth and another paid £28,469 after they were attacked on three separate occasions.

The largest single payment was £180,000 paid to a teacher who suffered serious injuries after a classroom assault, marking a trend EIS general secretary Andrea Bradley calls “worrying.”

Calling for government — local and national — to take “urgent action,” she said: “No-one deserves to suffer injury or assault in their workplace, which is why local authorities — as the employers of teachers — have a legal duty of care to ensure a safe working environment for all school staff.

“Worryingly, as the rise in violent incidents in recent years can attest, our schools are currently not as safe as they should be for staff and pupils.

“Local authorities and the Scottish government must work together to deliver safer schools, so that school staff can work without fear of physical harm for any reason and so that all young people can learn in a safe, secure and nurturing environment.”

A Scottish government spokesperson said: “Scotland’s schools should be safe learning environments for all – violence and abusive behaviour towards pupils or staff is completely unacceptable.

“The Education Secretary has been clear that more needs to be done to address incidents of behaviour, which is why the Scottish government is bringing forward a National Action Plan – this will set out a range of actions needed at both local and national level.

“We are committed to working with trade union partners on the development of this plan.”


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