12 We will continue to support children and young people to cope with challenges and adversity, which would include bereavement, and consider how the school community can best support children and young people.
Education Scotland has developed Career-Long Professional Learning (CLPL) resources called ‘The Compassionate and Connected Community’. These resources support practitioners to understand and support the impact of trauma and adversity.
They have also produced an accompanying curricular resource called ‘The Compassionate and Connected Classroom’, which has been made available to all schools and local authorities. It is intended to support children in upper primary to understand the impact of early adversity and trauma and develop both compassion and empathy towards others who have experienced it, as well as developing resilience and coping strategies.
We are working on a range of measures to strengthen support for children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing. The investment in school counsellors is part of a package of measures to ensure that children and young people get the support that they require. Local authorities will be responsible for the recruitment of counsellors and on how best to deliver the service in their local area. It is intended that the Programme for Government commitment will be delivered in full by September 2020.
We have reached agreement with local authorities for the distribution of funding to provide access to counsellors in every secondary school. Counselling services will be attached to secondary schools and support school clusters (e.g. primary and special schools). This will provide a comprehensive model of counselling in schools so that they can respond immediately and also provide links to a wider range of support.
Providing more than 80 additional counsellors in Further and Higher Education over the next four years will strengthen the support available in every college and university in Scotland, to improve mental health and wellbeing for students. Colleges and universities will receive more than £3.6 million this academic year to provide additional counsellors.
13 We will continue to raise awareness around the impact that childhood adversity can have and consider alongside activity on rights and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). In particular, we will support the Scottish Youth Parliament (SYP) and Members of the Scottish Youth Parliament (MSYPs) in developing a resource to help raise awareness amongst MSYPs and their constituents.
This is part of our ongoing work to address and raise awareness of the impact that adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) can have throughout a person’s life. The Scottish Government supported a workshop on 16 April which discussed the development of the resource with MSYPs.
The Scottish Youth Parliament launched the resource “Rights! The Missing Piece to Childhood Adversity” at their sitting at the end of October. This leaflet, designed by young people, is for MSYPs to raise awareness of a rights-based approach to tackling childhood adversity.
On 20 November, UNICEF hosted an event at the Scottish Parliament to celebrate both World Children’s Day and the 30th Anniversary of the UNCRC. SYP had created a Childhood Adversity Jigsaw and at the event, the First Minister placed the last piece in the Jigsaw, cementing the commitment to incorporate the UNCRC in Scotland and protect children and young people from childhood adversity.
14 We will give further consideration to the legislative competence of banning the use of mosquito devices, keeping in mind the comments made by Members of the Scottish Youth Parliament.
The Scottish Government does not support the use of mosquito devices and is giving consideration to the implications and practicalities of banning or limiting the use of these devices. Through consultation with specialists in relevant fields, we will consider issues surrounding legislative competence and what scope may exist for banning these devices either on health or human rights grounds.
In doing this we recognise that the Scottish Government’s approach has to be a proportionate response to the issues caused by mosquito devices, and that we can only act within the powers available to us to minimise the use of these devices. The lack of available evidence on use and impact means that there are currently no documented health risks associated with the use of mosquito devices.
We note that on 26 October 2018 Petition PE01713 was lodged in the Scottish Parliament on behalf of the Scottish Youth Parliament “Calling on the Scottish Parliament to urge the Scottish Government to ban outright the use of ‘mosquito devices’ in Scotland, in order to uphold children and young people’s rights”. The Scottish Parliament Public Petitions Committee (the Committee) considered the petition on 20 December 2018, and wrote to the Scottish Government and others seeking views on the action called for in the petition. The Committee received written submissions from the Scottish Government, Police Scotland and the Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland. The petitioner Scottish Youth Parliament also responded to the Committee on the written submissions.
The Committee further considered the petition on 5 September 2019 and wrote to the Scottish Government to ask that the actions called for in the petition be considered on health grounds and the actions now underway respond positively to the aim of the petition.
The official reports from 20 December 2018 and 5 September 2019, and all the written submissions received on the petition can be viewed here.
15 We will consider again how we can encourage social workers to wear visitor badges in schools instead of social work badges, building on last year’s discussions with the Chief Social Work Adviser, Social Work Scotland and the Chief Social Work Officers Strategic group. For example, this could include gathering good practice examples and disseminating these as widely as possible.
We are building on work that we did last year around social workers wearing visitor badges in schools – as it was also an action from the 2018 Cabinet meeting. Last year we discussed the removal of identity badges in schools at a number of meetings. We agreed, in principle, that identity badges could be taken off in school or ordinary visitor badges could be worn if the child or young person thought this would benefit them (as long as it was agreed with school management that this was alright for security purposes). The safety and security of children and young people was always a top priority for all those working with children and young people in schools, such as teachers and social workers.
Several good practice examples were identified as part of the Chief Social Work Adviser’s engagement with Chief Social Work Officers (CWSOs) in 2018-19. These involved local authority areas where all staff, for security purposes, wear a similar type of identity badge. This avoids any issue of potential stigmatisation of children and young people by staff who wear identity badges that clearly show their job title.
These discussions also recognised the particular differences between towns/cities and the countryside, where the identity of a visiting social worker to a school in a small community may be known whatever identity badge they wear.
Having given careful consideration to the information and good practice examples that CSWOs have provided her with, the Chief Social Work Adviser sent a letter in early December to the key people that this issue involves – recognising that this was an issue for a range of people working in local authorities, schools and social work. The letter was sent to Chief Executives of local authorities, CSWOs, Directors of Children and Family Services, amongst others. In this letter, she recommended, wherever possible, that they should adopt the practice of having the same style of identification badge for all staff regardless of the job that they do. This will address the potential safety and security issues, avoid children and young people feeling stigmatised and allow services to continue being delivered to improve outcomes for Scotland’s children.
MCPs would like to find out what happens as a result of the letter sent by the Chief Social Work Adviser.