Drug dealing in North Ayrshire schools tends to be ‘covered up’ by head teachers, a councillor has claimed.

Conservative group leader Cllr Tom Marshall made the claim at last week’s Full Council meeting after questioning what the council’s policy is when pupils are caught dealing drugs in school or charged by police outwith school grounds.

Cabinet Member for Education Cllr John Bell said this is delegated to head teachers to deal with on a ‘case-by-case basis’, with Cllr Marshall replying: “Head teachers tend to cover up many of these incidents”, with staff members expressing concern.

Cllr Marshall told the Times: “From my conversations with secondary school staff, there is a tendency for head teachers to cover up serious incidents to minimise any adverse publicity. I think this is because the Education Authority takes a relaxed attitude to disciplinary problems in schools and tend to focus on the rights of the offender rather than those offended against.

“From my conversation with staff in various secondary schools it appears teachers have a difficult job in dealing with misbehaviour and do not get the support they need. If they have difficulties it is passed to the faculty head and on to senior management who in many cases fail to deal with the issue perhaps because the authority will not support them.

“If pupils are caught in possession of drugs with intent to supply these matters should not be covered up. The authority talks about young person’s right to education but my concern is that pupils have a right to be educated in a safe place where drugs are not available.”

An NAC spokesperson said: “We regularly drive home the message about the dangers of drugs, alcohol and substance abuse in all of our schoolsthrough the Health and Wellbeing part of our curriculum.

“Our teachers will continue to work alongside our colleagues in Police Scotland to ensure pupils are educated on the dangers associated with substance misuse.”

Chief Inspector Brian Shaw said: “We would welcome any information on drug dealing, regardless of where it is, I would urge anyone in any part of community to get in contact, either in confidence through Crimestoppers, by calling 101 or speaking to our locality policing team. We are keen for any information and we will act upon it.”