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Shock school violence figures

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By Fiona Reid
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Shock school violence figures

ONE hundred violent incidents have already been recorded this year in the region’s schools.

And so far in the 2022-23 session, the problem is worst in primary schools, with Hecklegirth Primary in Annan and Lockerbie Primary topping the table with the most instances – at 13 and ten respectively.

All of these resulted in a pupil exclusion and council officials say the figures include assaults against both staff and pupils.

Since the schools returned in August, there have been 61 reports of violence in primaries locally and 39 in secondaries.

The numbers were released by Dumfries and Galloway Council following a freedom of information request by this newspaper.

And as they only relate to events that have led to an exclusion, there are fears the actual rate of violence could be even higher in educational establishments.

The data also shows that last year, in the 2021-22 academic year, there were a total of 163 violent incidents in the region’s schools: 89 in secondary schools and 74 in primaries.

Stranraer Academy recorded the most with 23, followed in second place by Lockerbie Primary with 19 and then both Gretna Primary and Lockerbie Academy with 11.

Elsewhere, Dumfries Academy had eight, while Dumfries Academy had nine; there were five cases at Eastriggs Primary, eight at the NW Secondary Campus, seven at both Kirkcudbright Academy and Penninghame School and four each at Dalbeattie High, Troqueer Primary and Wallace Hall Academy.

Meanwhile, so far this academic year, there have been seven violent episodes resulting in exclusions at both Dumfries High and Stranraer Academy, eight at the NW Secondary Campus, four at St Joseph’s College and Lockerbie Academy, five at Noblehill Primary, among others.

Explaining the local authority’s policy on dealing with violence in schools, a council spokesperson yesterday said: “The council does have processes for services to report violent incidents and for these to be investigated to identify root causes and appropriate remedial actions and mitigation.

“Processes also exist to inform schools what actions they should take if violent incidents

occur, and these identify the stages for interventions.

“The De-escalation and Physical Intervention sub-group has also been set up by the Council to help support schools and have created a set of procedures to this end.

“Training is available according to the needs of individuals.”

It was also confirmed that police officers are attached to each of the area’s secondary schools.

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