Concerns over violence in Highland primary schools

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Scotland's largest teaching union has raised concerns about the number of attacks on teachers by pupils in the Highland Council area.

New figures show that 167 primary school teachers have been attacked since 2008 and there were five assaults on secondary teachers.

EIS union representative Andrew Stewart said the situation was worrying.

Councillor Bill Fernie said the numbers were low for Scotland but added that attacks on teachers were unacceptable.

The figures were obtained by the Press and Journal newspaper through a Freedom of Information request.

Emotional problems

Mr Stewart said cuts to the education budget was leading to bigger class sizes and fewer support staff and in turn making the problem worse.

He added: "Any attack on a teacher is unacceptable."

Highland Council's education committee chairman, Mr Fernie, said the figures included physical and verbal assaults.

He said there had been a reduction in incidents according to the local authority's figures for 2009-10.

Mr Fernie told BBC Radio Scotland: "Highland has probably got one of the lowest incidents of violence against teachers in the country.

"Certainly no incident is acceptable."

The councillor said children experiencing emotional problems, or had a physical or mental disability were involved in some cases.

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