Willie Rennie gets commitment from Sturgeon on tackling violence in schools

Following on from his article calling for action on violence in schools, Willie Rennie asked the First Minister for action this week. In her positive response, she paid tribute not once but twice to the work Willie has done on this issue and on mental health.

The text is below:

The First Minister knows that I have deep concerns about the increase in violence in schools. It has always been there, but it has certainly increased since the pandemic. There is a lot of distressed behaviour in schools. However, teachers report that they are sick and fed up with having to pick up the pieces of that. They do not think that there are sufficient resources to be able to manage it, so, as part of the reviews that the First Minister has set out, will additional resources be available to help schools to cope with the crisis?

I pay tribute to Willie Rennie for the work that he has done on the issue. It has been very good and very important. I will give him a commitment that resources will be part of the consideration. The Daily Record has drawn attention to the need for funding to make sure that there are places for young people to go, but I know that Willie Rennie is particularly talking about resources in schools.

Teachers are often at the front line of the situation, particularly when bullying is happening in schools, and we must take account of that. However, that should not take away from the fact that this is not just about what happens in our schools; it is a wider issue about how young people are coping with the pressures of modern life, particularly over the past few years. Mental health support—another issue that Willie Rennie has raised often in the chamber—is an important part of that. However, making sure that those who work most closely with young people, which obviously includes teachers, have the right support and resources to do that job is an important part of it, and I will have further discussions with the education secretary, over my remaining few weeks in this post, about exactly that issue.

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One Comment

  • Mel Borthwaite 5th Mar '23 - 3:40pm

    Willie is absolutely right to highlight the growing violence in our schools. Though most of this is violence is by pupils against fellow pupils, it is increasingly common for teachers and support staff to be victims of violence in their workplaces. Violence in schools has to be addressed as a key priority. Getting It Right For Every Child is not just about meeting the needs to the children who use violence against others but also about meeting the needs of every child for whom school should be a place free from the worry of being assaulted. Well done to Willie for raising this important issue.

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