Gender Based Violence in Schools Working Group minutes: December 2022

Minutes from the meeting on 13 December 2022.

Attendees and apologies

  • Rape Crisis Scotland - Chair
  • Association of Directors of Education Scotland (ADES)
  • Education Scotland
  • Educational Institute Scotland (EIS)
  • National Associations of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT)
  • Scottish Council of Independent Schools
  • Scottish Women’s Aid
  • SG Child protection
  • Stop It Now Scotland
  • TIE
  • Zero Tolerance
  • Scottish Government – Equality in Education (GETEL)
  • Scottish Government – Health and Wellbeing Unit


  • Glasgow Caledonian University 
  • National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC)
  • Scottish Government – Community Safety Unit
  • Scottish Government – VAWG

Items and actions

Welcome and apologies

The chair welcomed members and noted apologies. The chair asked any new members to the group to introduce themselves before making comments the meeting.

Minutes and actions from 4 October (paper 1)

All actions from the previous meeting were complete and there were no outstanding actions to carry forward.

Members were content with the minutes from the previous meeting which can now be published.

Action: SG to publish minutes from meeting on 4 October 2022.

National Framework – sections A, B and D – for information (papers 2, 3 and 4)

The chair advised that Sections A and B of the National Framework (papers 2 and 3) were now ready to be signed off by the group after some very slight changes following our meeting on 4 October.

Prior to the meeting a number of comments were received on section D (paper 4), and where these have not been included, the rationale has been outlined in comments for members.

Action: Members to send all wording for contributions and changes for section A, B and D by Tuesday 20 December 2022. If no comments are received it will be assumed that members are content.

There was a suggestion that there is currently new LGBT research on GBV in young people’s relationships being written and it would be useful to include this.

Action: Education Scotland to pass on contact details to SG in order to look at the option to include any new LGBT research on GBV into the guidance.

National Framework – sections E, F and H – for discussion (papers 5, 6, 7)

The chair explained to the group that there have been significant changes made, particularly to sections E and F. These sections have been reframed to focus on the GIRFEC model of universal and targeted approaches to GBV. These were previously two separate sections, a proposal was made to merge these into one..

A group member raised a concern that a rights based approach should be mentioned earlier in this section and throughout the document when mentioning GIRFEC the document should always mention the rights based approach.

Action: Scottish Government and Education Scotland to discuss ensuring the rights based approach is included in the document and strengthen the wording.

There was a discussion around the need to make clearer the universal approach to preventing gender-based violence should be a general approach and not only considered as a response to GBV behaviours. There was also discussion of the framework’s approach in reflecting young people experiencing GBV and young people GBV.

It was noted that a new section on responding to staff’s experience of GBV had been added but this was at a very early stage of drafting and required further work. The group agreed to add additional text around this area. It was suggested that the document needed to acknowledge staff’s rights as well as children and young people, and that staff may find situations challenging and triggering. It was highlighted that the universal targeted model is within GIRFEC and that does not apply to school staff and that would impact where the discussion was presented within the document. It was also suggested to put the section on staff before scenarios.

Action: NASUWT to write a section on staff’s experience section in order to provide clarity. If other members of the group are interested in contributing to this section they will speak to NASUWT direct.

It was suggested that more information on partners who support school would be helpful. For example, links to services to signpost, and explaining what each partner can offer a school.

There was a larger discussion within the group around the length of the section due to merging sections E and F, also there are several tables included that require to be reviewed. The group agreed to revisit the structure at a future meeting, once it had considered the next stage of amendments.

There was a comment referring to the length of the guidance and how the equivalent in Wales has a content driven by examples of good practice and despite the length is longer is perhaps is more relatable.

Action: Members to send all wording for contributions and changes for section E by 17 January 2023.

There was a discussion around a proposal to include a sub-section on scenarios within section E/F. It was discussed how scenarios would be helpful within the document to ensure it supports learners in the school to build on their conference and how scenarios can have a powerful message. ES and SG agreed to look at writing scenarios and other members of the group were asked to speak to SG if they would like to be involved.

Action: Members to advise SG if they will join ES and SG (Harmful Sexual Behaviour) in writing scenarios by 20 December 2022

There was a general discussion around the document and if an easy read guidance could be produced, including examples or illustrations to make the documents more effective. It was agreed that this can be considered however the group must prioritise the work that is publicly committed to delivering as a priority.

A question was raised asking if members can share the working documents with colleagues or share for comment. It was agreed that members could share with colleagues and the member of the working group would bring any changes or comments back to group in their role as group members. When a full first draft has been produced, a discussion will be held within the group to share the draft with critical friends for feedback from outside the group.

There had been a number of comments received on section H by the SG and clarity was sought on whether the amendments had fully addressed these comments. Members were content that clarity had been provided on this section.

When discussing recording it was noted that there was only guidance on the recording of incidents for pupils and that a sentence to cover teachers will be included in the section being written by NASUWT.

There was a general discussion around the SEEMiS recording system and the module within which recording GBV sits. SG confirmed to the group that it sits within the Bullying and Equalities module and within the module there has been a change from the 'Perceived Reasons for Bullying' to 'Perceived Reasons for Incident' in order to separate this from a bullying incident.

Action: SG to strengthen wording to make it clear where GBV is recorded within the SEEMiS system and that the full spectrum of GBV behaviours should be included within this section.

Action: Members to send all wording for contributions and changes for section H by 17 January 2023.

National Framework – sections G and I – for information and will be reviewed at the next meeting (paper 7)

Sections G and I will be discussed at the meeting on 31 January. SG will send an updated paper G along with the minutes to this meeting by the end of the week.

Action: Members to send all wording for contributions and changes for section G by 17 January 2023.

For section I the group were asked for volunteers to draft this section of the framework. It would be helpful if members could begin to keep a note of terms they think it would be helpful to define in the glossary and send these to the SG.

Action: Members to send all wording for contributions and changes for section I by 17 January 2023.


Update from Harmful Sexual Behaviours (HSB) delivery group

The Research working group is leading a pilot of the NSPCC HSB audit tool with three CPCs. Audit launches for the three Child Protection Committees (CPCs) have taken place: Highland 24 October; East Lothian 9 November; Midlothian 11 November. Following the audits, NSPCC will assist each of the CPCs to develop an action plan to address best practice, areas for improvement, etc.

We now have draft content that covers HSB on the Parent Club website, within a wider section under Raising a teen called Sex and relationships. The draft content has been shared with internal and stakeholders for feedback. We have also approached stakeholders to do a short talking head piece as part of the digital content.

Gender Equality Taskforce in Education and Learning

The Gender Equality Taskforce in Education and Learning welcomed the publication on 7 October of the reports developed in collaboration by The Collective, the Children’s Parliament and the Scottish Youth Parliament. The reports shine a light on the systemic gender inequality which girls and young women continue to experience in schools today. The Taskforce’s response to the reports was also published on the same day.

The Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills, Shirley-Anne Somerville has taken up the position of Taskforce Chair, helping to drive forward systemic change, based on the recommendations made in the reports. The first meeting chaired by Ms Somerville was held on 23 November. In due course she will co-chair the Taskforce with a young person and recruitment to appoint a co-chair will begin shortly.

PSE Sexual Harassment subgroup

Sexual Harassment subgroup tasked with delivering recommendation 16 – Education Scotland will convene a PSE Lead Officers network to develop resources to support all school staff and pupils, initially to focus on resources to address the issue of sexual harassment in schools, and develop a dedicated section on an appropriate online resource to support the consistent delivery of HWB/PSE - as part of PSE review provided brief update on their work to date.

Membership of this subgroup is very similar to the GBV working group and in drawing up a first draft of the SH paper they have suggested that this recommendation is amalgamated into the GBV group to prevent duplication and better manage practitioners workload.

The group agree they were content to prevent duplication.

Future meetings and next steps

In order to meet the deadline for publishing the framework the chair advised the group will have to meet more regularly to finalise the drafting. SG has therefore sent out meeting invites starting January through to May, if any meetings are not required they can be cancelled, but it was felt it better to have them held in people’s diaries to ensure input if needed.

Any other business

No other business was raised.

The chair thanked members and closed meeting. The next meeting has been arranged for 31 January 2023.

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