Teachers (Abuse)

First Minister's Question Time – in the Scottish Parliament at 12:00 pm on 27th May 2010.

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Photo of Hugh O'Donnell Hugh O'Donnell Liberal Democrat 12:00 pm, 27th May 2010

To ask the First Minister what the Scottish Government is doing to support teachers who are subject to abuse in the classroom or school. (S3F-2427)

Photo of Alex Salmond Alex Salmond First Minister of Scotland, Leader, Scottish National Party

Teachers who have suffered abuse in the classroom are able to access a range of support services provided by the Scottish Government, councils and indeed schools. The focus is on reducing the level of indiscipline in the classroom and, in that respect, it is encouraging to read the most recent study on classroom behaviour, which found that teachers themselves believe that behaviour has improved since the comparable 2006 study and that a very large majority of teachers—89 per cent in primary and 85 per cent in secondary—are confident of their ability to deal with pupil indiscipline in the classroom. The latest national statistics, which were published in January, show that, as a result of the hard work of teachers and the initiatives that we have taken, there has been since we came to office a 24 per cent fall in exclusions, which is the lowest recorded level since the figures were first collected.

Photo of Hugh O'Donnell Hugh O'Donnell Liberal Democrat

I am sure that the First Minister will agree that even shouting can be a form of abuse in the workplace. [ Laughter .] How will the Government ensure that therapeutic crisis intervention training, class management and behaviour management are at the heart of any changes that come about as a result of the review of teacher training?

Photo of Alex Salmond Alex Salmond First Minister of Scotland, Leader, Scottish National Party

Given the new respect agenda, I do not think that the member should attack the Labour benches for shouting through First Minister's questions.

I agree with the substance of the member's question. Although, as I have outlined, substantial progress has been made, I accept that there is substantial work to be done, and positive proposals from him and every other source will be properly considered.

Photo of Karen Gillon Karen Gillon Labour

The First Minister is no doubt aware that incidents involving younger pupils are increasing. What steps is the Scottish Government taking to increase the support available to teachers at the younger end of the classroom spectrum, particularly in early years? Moreover, does he share my concerns that the increasing casualisation of teaching staff is doing nothing to boost their morale?

Photo of Alex Salmond Alex Salmond First Minister of Scotland, Leader, Scottish National Party

Karen Gillon will agree that the statistics that I quoted show a generally improving picture. If there are any other specific measures that she, Hugh O'Donnell or any other member would like to bring forward, they will be positively received.

Meeting suspended until 14:15.

On resuming—