Published: 20/11/2017 16:36 - Updated: 20/11/2017 16:41

Rise in aggro in Highlands' schools is explained

 

Highland councillors heard that better reporting system explains rise
Highland councillors heard that better reporting system explains rise
 

 

Increasing reports of violence in schools and mental health issues within Highland Council has been attributed to a better reporting system.

Around 1000 incidents of violence and aggression towards school staff were reported in the last year, according to the local authority’s annual occupational health report.

It also showed that half of the referrals to occupational health are due to mental health issues, compared to 39 per cent last year.

But this has been classed as good news by both councillors and staff, who attributed it to an improved reporting system.

At the latest corporate resources committee, Inverness Central councillor Richard Laird welcomed management staff becoming more open to discussions on what was previously a taboo topic.

"I’m going to interpret that as a positive rather than a negative," he said.

"If we are making it easier for staff suffering from poor mental health we should continue that."

Human resources officer Steve Walsh confirmed work has been done to encourage employees to come forward, both with reports of mental health issues and violence.

"A new reporting system has been introduced in schools," he said.

"This has always been an issue but we have now managed to get reporting better which is a good thing.

"In terms of mental health we are putting a real focus on training staff and we have increased the number of mental health representatives in the workforce."

Committee vice chairman Councillor Andrew Baxter welcomed the work, saying: "Mental health issues are to the fore at the moment and it’s an issue many members in the chamber share an interest in."

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