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Behaviour, Bullying and Attendance, Absence and Exclusion

Behaviour

Most pupils are well-behaved in school and it is important to create a positive whole school ethos helping to ensure our children and young people can be included, engaged and involved throughout their school careers.

Education Scotland’s Rights Support and Wellbeing Team support local authorities and schools to introduce and embed approaches to positive behaviour based on improved relationships, staged interventions, engagement and motivation, and emotional wellbeing.

Behaviour in Scottish Schools Research provides a robust, independent picture of pupil behaviour in schools, including positive and negative behaviours and measures used by schools and school staff to promote positive behaviour. It is based on a large scale, 3-yearly survey of local authority staff, headteachers, teachers and support staff, and was developed in collaboration with teaching unions and education leaders. The latest survey was published in 2012.

In 2013 the Scottish Government and Scottish Advisory Group on Behaviour in Schools (SAGBIS) issued a response to this report better learning, better behaviour, better learning.  The response identified the next steps and priority actions to support local authorities, establishments, practitioners and partners to further improve relationships and behaviour within their learning community.

One of the priority actions for the Scottish Government and SAGBIS was to ‘Develop and publish guidance on the safe and responsible use of personal mobile technology in schools, which will recognise the role that social networking plays in people’s lives, and take into account wider issues of internet safety and the 2013 ICT Excellence Group report’. This guidance was launched at the recent respectme conference

In addition, at the respectme conference the Government launched the 360 Degree Safe e-safety self-review tool which is an online, interactive resource which helps schools to review their e-safety policy and practice. It is available, free of charge, to all schools.

A full list of legislation relevant to all aspects of online safety, including the safe and responsible use of mobile technology

Bullying

Bullying of any kind, is totally unacceptable and must be dealt with quickly, whenever and wherever it happens.

The Deputy First Minister recently announced the launch of the refreshed anti-bullying guidance ‘Respect for All: The National Approach to Anti-bullying for Scotland’s Children and Young People’. The approach forms part of our wider attempts to improve the health and wellbeing of our children and young people.  

‘Respect for All’ supports all adults working with children and young people to develop environments where bullying cannot thrive. The document aims to encourage a proactive and inclusive approach to the development of anti-bullying policies and guidance. The focus of this guidance is prevention and early intervention.

We want all children and young people to learn tolerance, respect, equality and good citizenship to address and prevent prejudice.  That is why anti-bullying policies should be at the heart of a whole school approach to creating a positive and welcoming ethos and why health and wellbeing sits alongside literacy and numeracy as the responsibility of all staff. 

To support this we continue to fund respectme, the national anti-bullying service, to build confidence and capacity to address bullying effectively, aligned to ‘Respect for All’.  respectme works with all adults who work with children and young people to give them the practical skills and confidence to deal with all types of bullying behaviour, wherever it occurs, and for whatever reason.

Developed with the Scottish Anti-Bullying Steering Group, the Scottish Government previously published ‘A National Approach to Anti-Bullying for Scotland’s Children and Young people’ in December 2010.  That approach set out a common vision and aims for anti-bullying work across Scotland.

Addressing Inclusion: Effectively Challenging Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia

This resource provides information and guidance to school staff on addressing homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying in Scottish schools and has been written to complement Respect for All: The National Approach to Anti-Bullying for Scotland's Children and Young People.

It is designed to assist both primary and secondary school staff in recognising and responding to incidents of homophobia, biphobia and transphobia in their schools. While there is good practice happening across Scotland and some schools have made great strides in addressing these behaviours, this is not yet consistent across Scotland; research shows that 69% of lesbian, gay and bisexual learners and 77% of transgender learners report experiencing bullying.

For further information and support, contact LGBT Youth Scotland or respectme

Supporting Transgender Young People in Education

Developed in partnership with the Scottish Trans Alliance, this resource aims to help primary and secondary education staff support transgender children and young people and is informed by the experiences of young people and teachers.

It addresses the most common concerns from schools and teachers when supporting transgender young people as well as offering proactive advice and guidance on how to ensure schools are inclusive environments for all learners.

It is a general guide to supporting transgender young people and is not exhaustive. If a teacher needs more information or support for a young person, they can speak to the school management team, the local authority or other agencies or contact LGBT Youth Scotland.

Attendance, Absence and Exclusion

In 2007, the Government published national guidance, Included, Engaged and Involved: Part 1 – attendance in Scottish Schools which focuses on promoting attendance and managing absenteeism. Since 2007/08 pupils rate of attendance has increased from 93.2 to 93.6 per cent in 2012/3.

Guidance on exclusions - Included, Engaged and Involved Part 2: a positive approach to managing school exclusions – was published in March 2011. This aim is to support local authorities, schools and other learning establishments and their partners to keep all children and young people fully included, engaged and involved in their education wherever this takes place; and to improve outcomes for those most at risk of exclusion.

The guidance for schools and local authorities stresses that exclusion is an extremely serious option of last resort, to be used within an ethos of prevention, early intervention and support for learners. Exclusion rates have dropped steadily in recent years, resulting in a 50% reduction from a peak in 2006/07.

In March 2013, the Scottish Advisory Group on Behaviour in Schools published better relationships, better learning, better behaviour, which sets out national and local government priority actions to support local authorities and schools to further improve relationships and behaviour in their learning communities. This is central to delivery of Curriculum for Excellence and the implementation of GIRFEC.

Useful publications

Included, Engaged and Involved Part 1: attendance in Scottish schools – provides advice for schools and local authorities about encouraging good attendance as well as information on how attendance and absence should be recorded

Included, Engaged and Involved Part 2: a positive approach to managing school exclusions – provides advice for schools and local authorities on the use of exclusion

A Guide for Parents on Attendance – explains parental responsibilities around school attendance and provides information on where to get support when attendance becomes an issue

Statistics on Attendance, absence and exclusion – the Scottish Government school statistics page includes links to various sets of statistics including attendance, absence and exclusion.

Pupil Inclusion Network Scotland – network which brings together voluntary sector organisations with a commitment to improving educational outcomes for all children.  PINS provides an extensive online resource and puts on a series of seminars and workshops each year.

Respectme Scotland’s national Anti-Bullying Service.  Includes information and advice on all forms of bullying for parents, carers and anyone involved in the lives of children and young people.

Respect for All: The National Approach to Anti-bullying for Scotland’s Children and Young People - The document aims to encourage a proactive and inclusive approach to the development of anti-bullying policies and guidance. The focus of this guidance is prevention and early intervention.

Bullying - A guide for parents and carers - This publication looks at bullying behaviour, both face to face and online

Behaviour in Scottish Schools Research 2006, 2009, 2012 – 3 yearly government commissioned research project surveying school staff perceptions of behaviour.

Scottish Government and Scottish Advisory Group Behaviour In Schools (SAGBIS) response to Behaviour in Scottish Schools Research 2006, 2010 2013

Building Curriculum for Excellence Through Positive Behaviour and Relationships – leaflet providing more information on approaches to positive behaviour and outlining actions arising from the 2009 sweep of Behaviour in Scottish Schools