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Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 May, 2003, 12:29 GMT 13:29 UK
Minister's vow on unruly pupils
Unruly school pupils will be severely dealt with, Scotland's new education minister has promised.

Peter Peacock said classroom indiscipline was one of the key issues he planned to tackle.

A survey of about 2,500 staff by the Scottish Secondary Teachers' Association (SSTA) found that on average, members were having to deal with at least one unruly child a week.

Figures released in January by the Scottish Executive, showed 5,412 incidents involving violence or abuse towards school staff were reported in 2001/02.

Peter Peacock
Peter Peacock: "Violence unacceptable"
Mr Peacock has been promoted from deputy finance minister in the new Scottish Executive.

He told the BBC's Good Morning Scotland programme: "It is simply not acceptable to have violence against teachers or against other pupils.

"This has already been identified as one of the top-ranking issues that I want to deal with."

Mr Peacock said he was unhappy that in some cases parents felt the need to go to court over the issue.

There needed to be "very strong interactions" between parents and teachers to reinforce messages about the need for good behaviour.

The minister said he would be reviewing the progress of schools in responding to the 36 recommendations of the executive's discipline taskforce, launched by his predecessor, Cathy Jamieson.

Parental support 'lacking'

SSTA general secretary David Eaglesham said the discipline taskforce was examining the "essential" steps needed to deal with disruptive pupils.

"Changes in attitude means pupils are much less willing to accept the authority of the system than they were in the past," he said.

"That is something that's reflected much more widely throughout society.

"We also believe the survey showed a lack of parental support, and that was the second most common issue highlighted in the responses."

Responding to the figures released in January, the Conservatives said there was roughly one attack on a teacher in a Scottish school every 15 minutes.

BBC Scotland's Gavin Walker
"Eight out of 10 teachers said discipline had deteriorated"

Concern over classroom violence
30 Jan 03  |  Scotland
Violence against teachers increases
23 Jan 02  |  Scotland

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