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Edinburgh teaching assistants face violence every day=

A THIRD of Edinburgh’s teaching assistants and nursery nurses face violence in schools every day, a trade union survey has revealed.

Teaching unions have called for action in response to the findings, published by Unison and the Educational Institute of Scotland.

A third of all support staff across the Scottish capital say that they are not safe at work, while almost a third (32.6 per cent) of nursery nurses and teaching assistants share this feeling.

Forty per cent of teaching staff expressed anxiety about working with some young people because of the potential for violence to erupt and 48.7 per cent have directly experienced violence at least once a week.

Alarmingly, 90 per cent of staff have had no training in dealing with violent pupil behaviour and 70 per cent say that they feel employers expect them to see violence as “part of the job.”

Councillors and council officials have been presented with an 11-point plan to address the situation.

Although the problem of pupil violence has long been recognised in Edinburgh schools, tensions were raised earlier this month when staff walked out of a school after refusing to teach violent pupils.

Graham Neal, communities and families vice-convener at Unison’s branch in the city, said: “Our members are committed to the children they work with, but we need greater clarity about what happens when schools cannot meet the needs of a child.

“Most of all we need the council to recognise the problem and be clear that violence is not ‘part of the job’ and ensure that our members are given the support to manage these difficult situations.”

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