Council staff face less violence at work

Figures released by East Renfrewshire Council have revealed that there was a 27 per cent fall in the number of physical and verbal attacks on workers compared to 2016/17.

Most of those took place in additional needs schools such as Isobel Mair School, Carlibar Primary and St Thomas Primary.

The local authority’s director of education, Mhairi Shaw, claimed that many of the incidents happened as kids learned to adapt to new environments.

She said: “There has been a significant decrease of 27 per cent in the number of instances of violence to staff, from 359 to 262.

“As in previous years, a large majority of these incidents can be attributed to a small number of pupils who have significant additional support needs; and in part related to some children and young people adapting to an environment that was previously unfamiliar to them.

“In these instances, strategies and support arrangements are in place to respond to challenging behaviour and additional interventions are planned to support staff in this regard.

“During the year the department held a specific event for pupil support assistants to support them in their engagement with pupils with challenging behaviour.”

The report found that 202 employees suffered physical violence last year, with a further 60 on the receiving end of verbal abuse.

Ms Shaw added: “The pattern of violence to staff incidents is variable across schools, with some increasing and other decreasing compared to last year and reflects the relatively small number of cases.

“The majority of physically violent incidents relate to pupils with additional support needs in predominantly four schools – Isobel Mair School, Carlibar Primary’s Communications Centre, Carlibar Primary and St Thomas’ Primary.

“The department organised a specific training event for pupil support assistants. Staff were provided with enhanced support and guidance with regards to violence to staff.”

The figures make up part of the council’s health and safety review, which will go in front of education chiefs tomorrow (Thursday).