Teachers call attacks and high workloads in letters …

Teachers call attacks and high workload in letters to Nicola Sturgeon

Press Association

Teachers have described physical and verbal attacks, overwhelming workloads and a lack of staff in schools in letters to the Scottish government.

Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon asked teachers in Scotland in October to write her to tell her about their experiences with working in the profession.

A request for freedom of information by Scottish Conservatives has released 60 of the 120 letters that were sent at that time.

Among the letters, concerns about assaults and problems in managing the required amount of work were made.

In one letter, a teacher writes: "The class teacher was hit, I was kicked and beaten, my great support staff was subject to repeated kicks in the stomach and bitten."

Another teacher wrote: "The best teacher I have ever seen left last year because of paperwork and pure uncontrollable workload … something has to happen before there are no more teachers."

Teachers have expressed a number of concerns in letters to the Scottish Government (PA)

Teachers have expressed a number of concerns in letters to the Scottish Government (PA)

The lack of teaching staff was also mentioned as an important problem.

One letter said: "We share a school principal, but it is becoming less and less available to manage our school, because the workload at our cluster school is constantly increasing as a result of cutbacks in support staff, social services, frontline mental health services, speech and language – the list goes on. "

The Scottish Conservatives have said that the letters emphasize the pressure that teachers have on schools, including increased levels of violence in the classroom.

Liz Smith MSP, secretary of Scottish conservative shadow training, said: "These letters speak for themselves, and in addition to all the other forms of pressure currently mentioned by teachers, the increasing violence in our classrooms is a major concern.

"It is a completely unacceptable situation that many teachers are forced to work in such an environment.

"It is also interesting to note from the letters that teachers believe that part of the problem has been created by the well-intentioned but still increasingly problematic policies that encourage local authorities to mainstream all pupils where possible.

"In far too many cases, students have specific support needs in classes that are impossible for them to provide the support they need.

"Similarly, there are growing concerns that the education of other pupils in these classes is being influenced and unfairly exerting extra pressure on teachers.

"John Swinney has acknowledged in the Parliament that the mainstreaming policy needs to be revised, and he must do so urgently for the very reasons outlined in these letters."

Education secretary John Swinney said the Scottish government is working to improve conditions for teachers.

"No teacher should suffer abuse in the workplace, and we want all students to behave in a respectful way towards their colleagues and staff," said Mr. Swinney.

"Our updated guidelines for the prevention and management of school exclusions published in June 2017 contain guidelines for dealing with challenging behavior.

"The number of teachers is the highest since 2010 and we want to offer teachers new opportunities to develop their careers.

"We have also undertaken a series of actions to reduce the workload of teachers, to clarify and simplify the curriculum framework and to remove unnecessary bureaucracy."

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