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Teachers in Dundee and Glasgow vow to strike over principal teacher plans and 'violent' pupil behaviour

By James Moncur

Teachers in two Scottish council areas have vowed to strike over controversial plans to replace principal teachers and rising incidents of violent behaviour among pupils.

Secondary school teachers with Dundee City Council are set to walk out over plans to remove specialist principal teachers and bring in faculty heads, a move which has been brought in at many local authorities across Scotland.

They will take action for one day on Wednesday June 22.

The EIS union claims the move would "remove the vital experience offered by subject specialist principal teachers" and it fears class teachers will be handed additional work.

Larry Flanagan, general secretary of the EIS, said: "The imposition of this structure belies any commitment to empowered schools on the part of Dundee council and fails to factor in lead teacher roles which have been developed since these structures were first reviewed.

"At a time when the focus should be on supporting education recovery for young people, Dundee council is proposing changes that will heap additional workload on to already over-burdened class teachers and remove vital expertise from secondary subject departments.

"Teachers in Dundee have voted, strongly, to fight these changes and they will have the full support of the EIS national body in their battle to oppose faculties and to protect the best possible education provision for young people in all Dundee secondary schools."

Meanwhile teachers at Bannerman High School in Glasgow are considering a walkout if pupil behaviour shows no sign of improving.

They have been taking action short of strike since October, claiming there has been a lack of action by Glasgow City Council to tackle persistent violence towards staff.

The NASUWT union, which represents 32 teachers at the school, says six violent incidents have been recorded since pupils returned after the Easter break last month.

Staff claim behaviour management policies are not being followed by senior management, and say they feel there are few consequences for pupils who are persistently disruptive.

Patrick Roach, NASUWT general secretary, said: "Members at Bannerman are increasingly worried for their personal safety and angry at the failure of their employer and Glasgow City Council to fulfil their duty to protect them and the majority of well-behaved pupils from violence and disruption."

According to figures obtained by NASUWT, 20 serious incidents of violence and aggression at the school were logged on the council's health and safety management system during the last academic year.

In 2019/20, 41 incidents were recorded on the council's system.

Dr Roach added: "The attitude appears to be one of blaming teachers for poor behaviour, rather than holding pupils accountable, and this is being aided and abetted by the misuse and abuse of restorative behaviour conversations, which members feel have become synonymous with no punishment or sanctions for unacceptable behaviour.

"We have given the employer every opportunity to address these issues.

"While our action short of strike action is supporting members to take more control of their own approaches to tackling disruptive behaviour, management needs to take responsibility.

"All our members want is to be able to get on with their jobs free from the threat of violence and abuse at work."

Glasgow City Council and Dundee City Council have been contacted for comment.

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Dive Deeper:
Teachers in two Scots cities vow to strike over 'violent' pupil behaviour
Several violent incidents have been recorded since pupils returned after the Easter break last month.
Teachers may strike over rise in pupil violence and plans to replace principals
TEACHERS at two local authorities could take strike action over rising incidents of violent behaviour and controversial plans to replace principal…
Teachers at Glasgow school threaten strike over 'failure to address violent pupil behaviour'
The NASUWT teachers union has warned Glasgow City Council they will have "no option" but to consider taking such action…
Glasgow train staff threaten to boycott rail line plagued by 'young team' violence
The union says it could only be a matter of time before a member of ScotRail staff is seriously injured…
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Children evacuated from Glasgow primary school by police after bomb threat call
It's the second time in a matter of months that a Glasgow primary school has had to be evacuated due…
Teenage boy was permanently expelled from school after calling teacher a 'sl**'
The teenager, who was coming to the end of his first GCSE year, shouted the vile insult at the teacher…
Get all your news in one place