RAMBIS minutes: December 2019

Minutes of the meeting of the short-life working group on Recording and Monitoring Incidents of Bullying in Schools (RAMBIS) held on 17 December 2019.

Attendees and apologies


  • Strathclyde University
  • Association of Directors of Education in Scotland (ADES)
  • Connect
  • Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA)
  • Coalition for Racial Equality and Rights (CRER)
  • Education Scotland (ES)
  • Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC)
  • Educational institute of Scotland (EIS)
  • Glasgow City Council (GCC)
  • respectme
  • respectme
  • Scottish Council of Independent Schools (SCIS)
  • Scottish Government (SG)


  • Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland
  • Fife Council
  • LGBT Youth Scotland
  • National Parent Forum of Scotland (NPFS)
  • Police Scotland
  • Police Scotland
  • School Leaders Scotland (SLS)
  • Scottish Council of the Deans of Education 
  • Scottish Secondary Teachers’ Association (SSTA)
  • South Lanarkshire Council
  • Stonewall Scotland
  • Youth Link Scotland

Items and actions

Welcome, introductions and apologies

The Chair welcomed the group and introductions were made.

The Chair noted that the Operational Support Group (OSG) have had their final formal meetings and since August 2019, all schools and local authorities are now expected to be using the new approach to recording and monitoring bullying incidents. SG officials will continue to engage with local authorities through the OSG to promote the use of the SEEMIS module providing support where required. 

Update from the Scottish Government / Education Scotland

Update from SG:

  • progress of the OSG since the last RAMBIS meeting in December 2018
  • issues and actions raised at the last RAMBIS meeting and how these were addressed
  • overview of the internal interim evaluation to establish how well the new approach to recording bullying incidents in schools had been implemented
  • details of the final evaluation process that will assess the new recording and monitoring procedures which will be taken forward by Scottish Advisory Group on Relationships and Behaviour in Schools (SAGRABIS)
  • ongoing support and communication to OSG members

ES updated the group on the inspection process in relation to this work reminding the group that she was not in a position to represent the scrutiny directorate and could only provide general advice. ES agreed to share the statement on inspections with the group. ES also shared some recent analysis around bullying.

Action 1:

  • SG to circulate statement on ES inspections to the group

CRER highlighted that schools did not have anywhere to record racist non-bullying incidents on SEEMiS. The group discussed the increase in racist incidents and expressed continued concerns that schools are not dealing with this as well as they should be. It was noted that this equally applies to higher and further education establishments. 

CRER and EHRC noted that they are expecting to see numbers of bullying incidents being recorded dramatically increase. If the external evaluation does not reflect expected improvements in recording and monitoring bullying incidents in schools then CRER and EHRC will refocus their call for legislation to be introduced.

SG presented the results from the interim evaluation to the group and agreed to share the presentation with RAMBIS members. SG confirmed that the interim evaluation only considered the new process around recording of bullying incidents. SG confirmed that the interim evaluation was carried out by officials and the purpose  was to provide reassurance and a snapshot to the Deputy First Minister and RAMBIS about how the new approach had been implemented and if any further support was required by the OSG. SG confirmed that, the results would not be shared publicly. 

Responses were received from 26 local authorities. Officials advised they will consider the responses in more detail and will provide further support if required.  Members raised a number of concerns about the interim evaluation process and questions that had been asked. Official will share these concerns with SAGRABIS to consider when the external evaluation is being undertaken.

Action 2:

  • SG to share interim evaluation initial results with RAMBIS members

respectme were keen to find out which authorities had raised the definition of bullying as a challenge so that they could offer further training and articulation. SG will undertake further analysis on the evaluation and share this with respectme to identify further training needs highlighted.

SG to identify the authorities that raised the definition of bullying as a challenge in the interim evaluation and also share further analysis with respectme.  

SCIS offered to complete a similar survey to ensure independent schools are captured in this work. Members also raised issues around how bullying incidents are being raised within independent residential schools including grant-aided special  schools. 

Action 4:

  • SG to liaise with SCIS to consider if a similar survey could be undertaken by SCIS

respectme update

The update covered:

  • recent local authority policy completions/launches
  • recent engagement with 23 authorities over 18 months
  • remaining authorities who will be engaging with respectme in the near future

Update from Glasgow City Council

GCC’s experience in implementing the new approach to recording and monitoring bullying incidents in schools covered:

  • GCC’s revised policy and strategy published in Nov 2019, working in partnership with respectme. GCC noted how helpful respectme had been throughout the process
  • staff access to training on SEEMIS
  • consultation process undertaken with a broad range of stakeholders
  • staff awareness training and online courses on bullying
  • additional training being developed by GCC by the Equalities Group
  • uality assurance processes around school policy and tracking data and how to respond to this data
  • some general issues around the need or lack of perceived need to record bullying
  • xhallenging nil returns

Final evaluation

The Chair reminded the group that one of their recommendations was that “…an evaluation should be undertaken once full implementation has been embedded across local authorities. The evaluation will assess how successfully the new system for recording and monitoring bullying incidents in schools has been introduced.”

The Chair invited the groups thoughts on the final evaluation on recording and monitoring bullying incidents that will be developed and undertaken by a sub-group of SAGRABIS. Members comments will be shared with SAGRABIS and included:

  • establish where the gaps are in the voluntary system to the new approach and why
  • it is important to find out exactly how many schools are using the new approach through the SEEMIS system
  • important to get advice from evaluation specialists and ensure the right questions are being asked
  • a number of group members offered to provide evaluation advice to SAGRABIS sub group members if required 
  • group members were keen to be kept up to date with progress around the evaluation
  • different levels of staff need to be involved in completing the final evaluation
  • children and young people and parents and carers views should be incorporated in the evaluation, making sure their needs are being met
  • ensure that this work is evaluated through a protected characteristic lens – we cannot say this is working if it does not work for one group
  • methodology and design is key – need to ensure the method is capturing everything we need it to
  • questions have to be very precise and clear

Action 5:

  • SG to share all the suggestions with the SAGRABIS sub-group

Next steps

SG provided an update on the next steps:

  • officials will update the Deputy First Minister with progress of the OSG and  the ongoing support going forward, the results of the interim evaluation and the plans and early thoughts from RAMBIS members for the final evaluation
  • meeting in January with OSG members and SEEMiS colleagues to provide an opportunity for shared learning/effective practice on monitoring bullying incidents using the SEEMiS system
  • officials will be using the information from the interim evaluation to support local authorities who have schools not using the system yet. This support might include SEEMiS training respectme input/training or LA support to other LAs
  • officials will work closely with SAGRABIS on the final evaluation taking place in 2020/21 and ensure that RAMBIS members are kept up to date on developments
  • officials will continue communications with local authorities to ensure the right people in local authorities are aware that recording and monitoring bullying incidents in schools remains one of the Deputy First Minister’s priorities
  • officials will ensure this work is linked into other pieces of Government work going forward


No other business was raised.

The Chair thanked members for their input to the group throughout its lifetime and closed the meeting. 

Learning Directorate
December 2019

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