MSP ‘Disappointed’ by Lack of Borders Teacher Support

Michelle Ballantyne MSP has expressed her concerns regarding the Scottish Government’s inaction regarding support for teachers.


Last week at Portfolio Questions, the South Scotland politician raised the issue after a Borders teacher was assaulted in their classroom and was subsequently hospitalised.


Mrs. Ballantyne highlighted that her constituent, who has over thirty years of experience, had been put in danger after a pupil threw metal objects at the Tweedbank based teacher.


The Education Secretary, John Swinney, dismissed the South Scotland MSP’s ‘narrative of education’ and pointed towards the 2016 ‘Behaviour in Scottish Schools’ report which indicated that teachers generally found pupils to be well behaved.


Mr. Swinney went on to say that good behaviour in schools should be celebrated.


Michelle Ballantyne highlighted statistics which showed that local authorities across Scotland spent over £60 million last year on supply teachers due to a shortage of full-time staff. She indicated that cases such as her Borders constituent may discourage some from pursuing the profession.


Last year, the First Minister encouraged teachers to write to her about their experiences. In response, Nicola Sturgeon received over 150 letters from teachers who outlined the violence and abuse they have faced in the classroom alongside unmanageable workloads.


Mrs. Ballantyne expressed her disappointment with the Education Secretary’s response to her question, and called on the Scottish Government to take the issue of violence in schools more seriously.


Michelle Ballantyne MSP commented:


“Frankly, I was a little discouraged by the Education Secretary’s response to my question. Any violence against teachers is unacceptable and Mr. Swinney demonstrated a complete unwillingness to acknowledge that this is a situation that some teachers face.


“My constituent has worked in education for over thirty years. Especially in a time where local authorities are struggling to recruit teachers, we need to be taking positive steps to ensure that classrooms are safe for everybody.


“The majority of pupils are well behaved, however, support has to be in place to help pupils, teachers and families in instances where pupils are seriously injuring staff.


“The fact that the SNP Government refuse to even acknowledge this is deeply concerning. I will continue to raise the issue with the Scottish Government