Teachers in West Dunbartonshire have been attacked almost once every week, according to new figures.

A freedom of information request revealed there had been 31, 55, and 44 teacher assaults in each of the past three years.

Taking into account holidays, when kids aren't at school, the shocking figures equate to almost an attack every single week.

Jackie Baillie, Dumbarton's MSP said: "It’s shocking that since 2016/17, there were almost 30,000 attacks on school teachers by students with 130 incidents taking place in West Dunbartonshire. No one should have to go to work worrying that they might be assaulted.

“Whilst it’s positive to note that there has been a drop in the number of incidents locally in the last year from 55 to 31, these figures still are not good enough. We know that currently there are 2,862 specialist staff, compared with 3,942 in 2009 and with a 68 per cent increase in students with ASN since 2012, students may not be getting the right level of support.

“Teachers work hard day in day out, to make sure all children get the best education they can. But this is being hampered by the drop in ASN staff, making their job more difficult. Schools must be places where staff and students feel safe and confident to learn, so that students can get the best chance to succeed.

“What’s needed now is for the education secretary to outline how he and the Scottish Government will tackle this problem. As a first step they clearly need to invest more in recruiting ASN support staff and supporting local councils and schools better.”

A spokeswoman for West Dunbartonshire Council said: "West Dunbartonshire Council takes any incidence of aggression against staff extremely seriously, and we do everything we can to support any individuals affected."

A spokesperson for teaching union, the EIS, said: “The EIS is clear that a zero tolerance approach should be taken to incidents involving violence or the threat of violence towards teachers and it is essential that when serious incidents do occur, they are dealt with swiftly. Pupils can display disruptive or aggressive behaviour for a wide range of reasons and it is important we take steps to understand the variable causes of that behaviour. Local authorities have a duty of care to all their employees and it is important they take the necessary steps to ensure that our schools are as safe as possible, without damaging the open and welcoming environment that our schools seek to provide. The vast majority of young people in our schools are positively engaged in their learning and like their teachers deserve to feel safe and secure at school.”

The Scottish Liberal Democrats were behind the FOI.

Their education spokesperson, Beatrice Wishart MSP, said: “Teachers and pupils are being let down. Nobody should have to go to work with a reasonable expectation that they might be assaulted.

“Teaching staff have been the victim of attacks on almost 30,000 occasions since 2016/17. These are incredibly concerning figures and many represent vulnerable pupils who are not getting the support they need.

“Teachers work day in day out to make sure children are given every opportunity to achieve their potential and get on in life, but that has been made harder by the loss of valuable specialist support staff from every school who work closely with pupils, some with complex needs.

“We will never be able to ensure that every child gets the best possible start in life unless we make sure that schools are places where both pupils and staff feel comfortable, confident and ready to learn.

“The Scottish Government must lay out how it will support local authorities and schools in tackling this problem and reverse the unacceptable decrease in support staff numbers on its watch.”