Increasing violence in Scotland’s classrooms is the result of ministers not listening to demands for extra support to be given to children, said the leader of the countries largest teaching union.
General secretary of the EIS Andrea Bradley addressed the “increase in violent incidents and distressed behaviour” in schools during her speech to the union’s AGM.
She pledged the EIS will campaign to “tackle the scandalous underfunding” of support for youngsters with additional support needs and made clear the rise in violence is a “consequence of not listening to the voices of teachers as they’ve called for more support for children and young people whose mental health is fragile”.
Education Secretary Jenny Gilruth has pledged a special summit will be held to look at how to tackle violence within schools. But Bradley said the EIS will be there to make sure “it leads to real action and real resources rather than just talk”.
The Daily Record has reported on several incidents of youth violence in the last few months.
It also launched the ‘Our Kids … Our Future’ campaign, which calls for ring-fence funding to make sure every community has a place for teenagers to go and demands that social media giants enforce policies on tackling harmful content.
First Minister Humza Yousaf recently thanked the paper for its campaign and pledged £2million to protect young people in Scotland.
Bradley said the EIS is to launch a national campaign for “proper funding for education as a vital and valuable public service”.
She said the union will highlight the “crippling workload” teachers have and the “boundless bureaucracy” they have to deal with.
The campaign comes following strike action by teachers as part of a pay dispute with councils and the Scottish Government. The dispute resulted in a deal which will mean most teachers will have received a 14.6 per cent increase in wages by January 2024.
Bradley said the EIS will be submitting its next teachers’ pay claim in six months time.
In the meantime, she demanded “solid action to reduce workload as promised” from the Scottish Government.
The SNP 2021 manifesto included a commitment to reduce the amount of time teachers spend in the classroom by 1.5 hours a week, giving them more time complete marking and prepare for classes.
A survey by the EIS found almost three-quarters of teachers were stressed either all the time or frequently at work, with only two per cent saying they can complete all they are asked to do within their contracted 35-hour working week.
The union also found 70 per cent of members were working an additional five to seven hours a week without pay. Some 41 per cent are working eight hours or more a week – the equivalent of an extra day without being paid for it.
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