Staff in West Lothian schools offered training to tackle aggression in the classroom

West Lothian Council logo
West Lothian Council logo

Teachers and school staff across West Lothian will be offered extra training to tackle aggression  in the classroom.

The council is to work with an external provider to develop “ de-escalation” strategies  teachers can use to keep themselves and pupils safe in school.

The Governance and  Risk Committee heard figures on physical assaults and verbal abuse in the county’s high schools. Broxburn Academy showed the highest figures in the last two years – 17 last year and 18 this year.

Committee chairman, Councillor Damian Timson said: “These are alarming statistics for two years running at Broxburn Academy. They are very different to other schools. It’s close to a trend. Is there are an explanation as to why it’s higher than other schools?”

Donna McMaster Head of Education (Curriculum, Quality Improvement & Performance) explained that the school  had had a large number of placing requests from outwith Broxburn because of the support that the school is able to deliver.

“These are a challenging group of young people. We are working with colleagues in Inclusion and Well-being to minimise the number of incidents,” she added.

Jennyfer McNiven, the council’s Principal Education Psychologist said: “We are looking to roll out a universal training offer to all staff based on key de-escalation strategies, and support for staff . We are  also working closely with our Inclusion and Well-being colleagues to develop a more tailored training programme for those schools where there has been an identified higher potential risk.”

Ms McNiven said in schools where higher risks had been identified the council was working with a programme from an external provider- Managing Actual and Potential Aggression.

“We are looking to introduce that as a tighter framework to build their capacity and skills,” she added.

Meetings have already taken place with senior managers in high schools to draw up training programmes, with Broxburn Academy one of the priority schools.