Schools (Abusive and Violent Behaviour)

– in the Scottish Parliament on 16 November 2023.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Alex Rowley Alex Rowley Labour

4. To ask the Scottish Government what its position is on whether schools should publish monthly reports on any reported incidents of abusive and violent behaviour. (S6O-02731)

Photo of Jenny Gilruth Jenny Gilruth Scottish National Party

Our national guidance makes clear that all schools and local authorities are expected to record all incidents of violent behaviour. Recording and monitoring play an essential role in helping schools to identify recurring patterns of behaviour and ensure early intervention and appropriate support.

Members are aware that September’s summit on relationships and behaviour in schools focused on recording and monitoring incidents. My aim from the summit process is to identify practical actions that we need to take in order to make progress, including creating a culture where staff are empowered to record incidents. Local data must then be used to ensure that schools have an oversight of issues and are responding effectively.

Photo of Alex Rowley Alex Rowley Labour

Hardly a week goes by without us seeing, through the media, another report of another school where behaviour has broken down. I appreciate that the cabinet secretary has held two summits and intends to hold another one, but when is she going to bring forward to the Parliament something that shows the outcome of those summits and the action that her Government intends to take? Will she put in the necessary resources to go with that action?

Photo of Jenny Gilruth Jenny Gilruth Scottish National Party

I thank the member for his question and I know that he takes a keen interest in the matter, as I have done, of course, since it was first raised in the chamber, not long after my appointment.

The point that the member makes about action will be addressed in a statement that I intend to bring to the Parliament in the next two weeks. That statement will talk to the accurate national picture. It is important for the chamber to remember that we have not carried out research on behaviour in Scottish schools since 2016, because the last round of data was in 2016. There should have been a round of data in 2020, but that was not possible due to the pandemic.

Publishing an accurate national picture is hugely important, and I intend to come to the chamber with an identified action plan for how we can help local authorities to improve the current situation.

Photo of Audrey Nicoll Audrey Nicoll Scottish National Party

As we mark anti-bullying week, what guidance does the Scottish Government provide to help schools to tackle bullying?

Photo of Jenny Gilruth Jenny Gilruth Scottish National Party

Our national anti-bullying guidance, “Respect for All”, provides an overarching framework for all adults who work with children and young people, to address all types of bullying. We have also published guidance for schools and local authorities on recording and monitoring bullying incidents, and we are currently undertaking a review of “Respect for All”, which is supported by a working group of key stakeholders. The planning is under way to engage with parents, carers, children and young people as part of that review, and the updated guidance is expected to be published next year.

Photo of Liam Kerr Liam Kerr Conservative

Alex Rowley asked a spot-on question and got no answer. There is still no action plan to tackle incidents of abusive and violent behaviour, and there is no guidance for school staff. When will there be an action plan?

Photo of Jenny Gilruth Jenny Gilruth Scottish National Party

I do not think that Mr Kerr was paying attention to my response to Mr Rowley, because I was clear that I will bring a statement to the Parliament to identify action from the Government, while recognising, of course, that the statutory responsibility for responding to bullying incidents rests with our local authorities.