RISING indiscipline in Scottish schools has been blamed on a “cuddle culture” where pupils don’t face consequences for their actions.

Over the past decade, schools have replaced more traditional punishments with restorative techniques, with pupils encouraged to discuss disciplinary issues.

The idea is that pupils who come to an understanding of the impact of poor behaviour will be less likely to re-offend.

But, members of the Scottish Secondary Teachers’ Association (SSTA) are concerned pupils have no sense of responsibility for their behaviour.

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Last year, a survey by the SSTA found verbal abuse had affected seven out of 10 staff members while one in five said they had been assaulted by pupils.

However, although research by Ipsos MORI Scotland found school disruption was getting worse it found the majority of pupils were well behaved with common complaints focusing on low level disruption such as talking out of turn, a deterioration in manners and greater defiance.

Kevin Campbell, president of the SSTA, said he expected teenagers to question adults, but argued the current situation had gone too far.

He said: “There seems to be an expectation that teachers are to be subjected to the most foul abuse on a daily basis, often more than once.

“Pupils are belligerent in the extreme in their use of language. Very often violent, sexualised, homophobic and sexist language, occasionally sectarian and racist.”

Mr Campbell, who will highlight the issue in a speech to the annual congress of the SSTA in Crieff today, said there was a lack of action against perpetrators.

He said: “Simply put, children are not to be accountable for their actions. Are these children to be exempt from the laws of our country when they leave school?

“The nurture or cuddle culture stipulates that the child is to be at the centre of all aspects of education.

“A child has many rights, but never a single responsibility. This culture has led to the situation where a teacher almost has no authority over their charges.

“It is critical that we impart to our pupils the need for discipline, especially self-discipline.”

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The annual congress will also discuss calls for a return to more traditional froms of punishment.

Catherine Nicol, from the SSTA’s salaries committee, said: “Blanket use of restorative practices involving an endless cycle of discussion is not working.

“Traditional punishment exercises where pupils had to write down what they had done and the consequences were more effective.”

The SSTA will be asked to back a motion asserting that restorative practices are “ineffective” and calling for a Scottish Government review.