Figures show 492 assaults on teachers in East Dunbartonshire

Teachers have suffered hundreds of assaults by pupils in East Dunbartonshire over the past five years, it has been revealed.

Figures released under the Freedom of Information Act show there were 380 physical attacks on teachers since 2008 and 112 verbal assaults. One pupil was just three-years-old.

The shocking statistics come after the fatal stabbing of a teacher in Leeds in front of her pupils on Monday.

A 15-year-old boy is being questioned by police about the attack on Anne Maguire (61) killed at Corpus Christi Catholic College.

The majority of physical attacks locally involved a teacher being kicked, hit or pushed.

West of Scotland MSP and Scottish Conservative Deputy Leader Jackson Carlaw MSP, who obtained the figures, said: “Teachers across East Dunbartonshire have a hard enough job as it is without facing physical assault. This is admittedly a small proportion of the student population but any assault on a teacher is one too many.

“It is important East Dunbartonshire Council ensure schools remain places of learning where staff’s personal safety is secured.

“As such, I have written to East Dunbartonshire Council to ensure they have all the powers they need to reduce these shocking statistics.”

Gordon Currie, Director of Education & Children’s Services, said: “In recent years, East Dunbartonshire Council’s Education Service has worked consistently with staff at all levels to actively come forward and report any incidents of this nature.

“Working together, we developed a process to record all incidents, both verbal and physical. This means they are now actively reported to the Head of Education and the collated statistics are then reported to committee.

“Teachers and support staff are always supported when any incidents are reported. We agree that any act of violence towards a member of staff or other young person is unacceptable.

“However, it must be recognised that a large part of the growing up process for young people, is learning to behave responsibly and appropriately.

“A large element of the curriculum for excellence is dedicated to developing responsible citizens.

“Our statistics clearly show that the vast majority of the circa 17,000 young people in East Dunbartonshire are never involved in acts of violence.

“In most cases, those who are have particular needs and are supported closely. East Dunbartonshire Council is proud of its proactive approach to support vulnerable young people, as well as its teachers and support staff.”

The number of assaults peaked at 114 in 2009/10 and were at their lowest level in 2013/14, at 53, based on pupils from the ages of three years to 18 years.

The incidents led to 114 pupils being suspended and one pupil expelled.