Nearly 30% of teachers in Aberdeen have been assaulted by pupils in the last year, new figures have revealed.
Punching, kicking, spitting and biting are among the forms of assault experienced by teachers, according to a survey carried out by the Aberdeen branch of teaching union EIS.
The survey, which attracted nearly 3,000 written responses, found almost 30% of teachers were assaulted by pupils in the 2018-19 session, with 57% of teaching staff attacked in the past five years.
As a result, the Aberdeen EIS Local Branch has called for Aberdeen City Council to engage in “meaningful negotiations” with them to fully discuss the findings.
Ron Constable, Aberdeen EIS local association secretary, said: “Teaching staff should never have to go to their employment with the fear of being verbally or physically abused, but it is clear from this survey that 18% of teachers are reporting that it is a daily occurrence in their schools.”
The main forms of assault, according to the survey responses, were teachers being punched (41.18%) or kicked (47.03%).
Other forms of assault taking place include pushing and shoving, spitting, being struck with an object and biting.
John Wheeler, convener of the education committee, said: “It’s never acceptable for any member of staff to come to work for fear they will be assaulted either verbally or physically.
“I would urge anyone experiencing that type of situation to go through their line manager and through the reporting system we have in place.
“If there’s anything that needs revisited as a result of this data, I’ll take a look at that.”
The survey showed 53.75% of teachers experienced verbal abuse, with 159 members reporting cases of this type, including threats of violence, sexually explicit remarks and personal assaults.
When asked if physical violence and verbal abuse had impacted on their health and wellbeing, nearly 40% agreed and around 22% strongly agreed.
Nearly 30% agreed that they had thought of leaving the profession with almost 16% strongly agreeing to this.
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Martin Greig, education spokesman for the local authority’s Liberal Democrat group, said the figures were “extremely concerning”, adding the amount of staff being attacked was “completely unacceptable”.
He said: “The safety of the teaching staff is vital to ensure a peaceful and settled school community.
“Much more needs to be done to tackle this type of misbehaviour.
“The parents need to be involved in finding a solution to the misconduct. The number of staff being attacked is completely unacceptable.
“As professionals, the staff deserve to have a safe and peaceful place of work and it’s clear that far more has to be done to improve the well-being and safety of teaching staff.”
An Aberdeen City Council spokesman said: “The safety of our teaching staff is of paramount importance to the council.
“Teaching and support staff in schools receive advice and guidance to ensure they are equipped to diffuse situations and reduce levels of risk, with these arrangements kept under regular review.
“We engage regularly with trade unions and are committed to continuing that positive dialogue with a view to continuing to protect and support staff.”