At­tacks on coun­cil work­ers

Rutherglen Reformer - - News -

Coun­cil work­ers in South La­nark­shire were the vic­tim of phys­i­cal or ver­bal at­tacks over 500 times last year.

By far the group most at risk were teach­ers, with ed­u­ca­tion staff re­port­ing 391 in­ci­dents dur­ing 2014/15 — more than three-quar­ters of the to­tal amount.

Of these, 354 were de­scribed as “phys­i­cal” at­tacks and one re­sulted in se­ri­ous in­jury.

The coun­cil-wide fig­ures rep­re­sents a 30.6 per cent in­crease on the pre­vi­ous year, but the coun­cil say this is down to im­prove­ments in record­ing in­ci­dents and en­cour­ag­ing staff to re­port at­tacks.

There were just two vi­o­lent, phys­i­cal as­saults de­scribed as “ma­jor” through­out the year, a de­crease on nine the pre­vi­ous year.

Af­ter ed­u­ca­tion, the next group most at risk were so­cial work staff who re­ported 79 in­ci­dents.

The fig­ures were put to an ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee last week.

In­clud­ing ac­ci­dents, the to­tal in­ci­dents re­ported by staff was 730, up from 633 in 2013/14.

With at­tacks on teach­ers ac­count­ing for 77 per cent of in­ci­dents, a spokesper­son for the Ed­u­ca­tional In­sti­tute of Scot­land urged schools to take ac­tion against per­pe­tra­tors.

They said: “While it is true that im­proved re­port­ing pro­ce­dures may be a fac­tor in the in­creased num­ber of recorded in­ci­dents, the fact re­mains that any at­tack on a teacher is a cause for se­ri­ous con­cern.

“Schools must con­tinue to pro­vide an ap­pro­pri­ate en­vi­ron­ment for learn­ing and teach­ing, so it is es­sen­tial that dis­ci­pline poli­cies are ro­bust and that a firm line is taken in re­sponse to any phys­i­cal at­tack on a teacher.

“One phys­i­cal at­tack on a teacher is one in­ci­dent too many.

“It is im­por­tant, how­ever, that we also recog­nise that most pupils are well be­haved and that our schools con­tinue to be safe places to work and to learn.”

A spokesper­son for South La­nark­shire Coun­cil said: “Ed­u­ca­tion staff are be­ing en­cour­aged to re­port even quite mi­nor in­ci­dents. As a re­sult re­port­ing sta­tis­tics have in­creased but do not re­flect any ma­jor is­sues.”

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