Teachers at a Glasgow secondary school are threatening to go on strike over violent and disruptive pupil behaviour.

Union bosses say they will have “no option” but to consider walkouts at Bannerman High in Baillieston if meaningful steps are not taken to address the issue and protect staff.

NASUWT members at the school stressed they had been engaged in action short of strikes since October last year due to the employer's "failure" to tackle persistent verbal and physical assaults. The union said that, despite this and ongoing attempts to work with school management, incidents were continuing. Staff have submitted six violent incident forms in just a few weeks since the end of the Easter holidays.

NASUWT leaders also claimed behaviour policies were not being followed, with little effective action taken against pupils who are persistently disruptive.

Teachers report that management are consistently failing to attend and support them when serious incidents occur. In addition, they say a culture has been allowed to develop where swearing at and disrespect towards staff are accepted, along with a refusal to follow rules around uniform and conduct.

READ MORE: Teachers 'covering up' violent pupil behaviour

Figures show Bannerman was the only mainstream Glasgow secondary school that did not exclude any pupils in the 2020/21 academic year. However, a Freedom of Information request submitted by the NASUWT has revealed there were 20 incidents of violence, aggression and challenging behaviour logged on the city council’s health and safety management (HANDS) system over that period. This is despite the school being closed by Covid lockdowns for part of the year. Forty-one incidents were recorded during the 2019/20 academic session.

Glasgow education bosses have rejected claims that school leaders are not supporting teachers who face violent or abusive pupil behaviour. They also insist incidents are being dealt with "quickly and effectively".

But Dr 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.

“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."

He added: “No teacher should go to work with the expectation that they will be either verbally or physically abused. All teachers are entitled to dignity at work and a safe working environment.

“The learning experiences of the majority of pupils are being undermined and disrupted by the City Council’s failure to deal appropriately with the actions of a minority.

“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.”

READ MORE: School safety fears as proportion of pupil exclusions for violence rises

Mike Corbett, NASUWT's national official for Scotland, said: “Evidence shows that positive pupil behaviour stems from a whole school approach where managements lead and support staff in maintaining good discipline.

“We want the behaviour policies which we agreed with the school to be enacted and consistently enforced, so that pupils are not only encouraged to reflect on their own behaviour, but that there are clear and consistently enforced sanctions for verbal abuse or physical violence.

“Members should not be treated with suspicion and disdain by their employer simply for standing up for their right to work in safety, free from abuse and harassment.

“Enabling a culture of abuse and harassment fails both pupils and staff and our members are not prepared to gamble with their welfare any longer.”

READ MORE: Secondary staff to go on strike over plan to axe principal teachers

A city council spokeswoman said: “We do not condone abuse of any sort – either verbal or physical – that is directed towards our teachers or school staff and who deserve to feel respected and safe in their work place.

“Young people who are not in school are not learning and although exclusions are unavoidable in certain circumstances, our schools work with pupils to find out why they are behaving in such a way and find solutions to support any child in need.

“We will continue to work with unions and their members to make sure everyone feels valued and respected in their working environment and it is not true to say that the school management team are not supporting school staff. Any reported incidents are dealt with quickly and effectively and a resolution agreed.”