Respect for All Review Working Group Minutes: November 2023

Minutes from the Respect for All Review Working Group for November 2023

Attendees and apologies


  • Support and Wellbeing Unit, Scottish Government (chair)
  • Association of Headteachers and Deputes Scotland (AHDS)
  • Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA)
  • Education Scotland
  • Equality and Human Rights Commission EHRC)
  • Glasgow City Council
  • National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC)
  • Police Scotland
  • respectme
  • School Leaders Scotland (SLS)
  • Scottish Youth Parliament
  • Support and Wellbeing Unit, Scottish Government (secretariat)


  • Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS)

Items and actions

Welcome and apologies

The chair gave a warm welcome to attendees, in particular to the new member from NSPCC. Apologies were noted.

The chair apologised for having to rearrange this meeting and made it clear this work is an absolute priority.

Update on relationships and behaviour summits

The chair highlighted the Cabinet Secretary committed to holding a summit on relationships and behaviour in schools. In order to provide opportunities for in-depth discussions, the summits have taken place in stages. The first two events have taken place.

The first event took place on 5 September and focussed on recording and monitoring incidents in schools. The learning and insights from that event will feed into the Respect for All update. Some of the themes coming from that include:

  • Clarity required on how to address bullying incidents that take place outwith school
  • What constitutes a recordable incident?
  • Desire for consistency across schools and local authorities
  • Keen to improve sharing of best practice

The final summit will take place on 28 November to discuss the Behaviour in Scottish Schools Research (BISSR). This research will provide a robust picture of what is happening in our schools across a wide range of behaviours. The outputs from the summits and research will feed into this work.

Action: SG to share BISSR report with members once published.

Note of previous meeting

The chair advised a note of the previous meeting was circulated and no comments were received. Members were content to approve the minutes.

The chair highlighted that a new webpage for the working group is in the process of being set up on the SG website where the Terms of Reference and minutes will be published.

Action: SG to publish a note of the previous meeting on the new webpage once created.

Terms of Reference

At the previous meeting, the group suggested that the outcomes/expectations on the group could be clearer/more tangible in terms of what the group’s involvement will be for updating the guidance.

The chair confirmed that the objectives in the Terms of Reference had been updated. Members agreed to sign off the Terms of Reference, however noted they would like it to remain a live document that can be updated when required.

COSLA suggested a couple of small changes to the Terms of Reference. Members highlighted they would like to have the agenda/papers at least a week in advance of the meeting.

Action: SG to update Terms of Reference and circulate to members via email for final comments.

Proposed approach and timeline

The chair highlighted the Working Group have agreed to aim towards publishing updated Respect for All guidance in 2024.

SG set out a proposed approach and timeline to achieve that aim, highlighting that some of the sections will be informed by evidence and research such as BISSR and the summits.

Members agreed that the timeline was ambitious and that launching the updated guidance during anti-bullying week 2024 made sense and would have the biggest impact. It may not have much of an impact if launched at the start of term and is lost among other guidance.

The group agreed that establishing sub-groups to focus on specific sections would help meet deadlines. The sub-groups would then bring their proposed updates back to the main working group for sign-off.

COSLA advised that sign off during parliamentary recess wouldn’t be possible and so the suggestion to launch in November was preferable.

SYP noted the importance of framing the guidance around rights and including the incorporation of UNCRC on the timeline.

Action: SG agreed to redraft the approach and timeline to take account of members comments.

Action: Members to let SG know what sections of the guidance they would be interested in drafting.

The Racism and Racist Incidents lead within SG advised they were establishing a short life focus group to look at the section on prejudice based bullying. Invites to join the focus group had been issued to organisations covering protected characteristics.  Members were encouraged to get in contact with SG in relation to any organisations they think would be appropriate to join the group. The aim is for the focus group to take place before the end of December.

Action: Members to contact SG with suggestions for organisations that could be part of the focus group on prejudice based bullying.

NASUWT noted a number of groups where some similar topics may be being discussed and that it is important the existing spaces are utilised and work is not duplicated. NASUWT also highlighted the importance of having someone with lived experiences feeding into the review.

Action: SG to explore existing groups to ensure work is not duplicated.

respectme gave an overview of the world Anti-Bullying Forum that took place in October, including the proposed new global definition of anti-bullying. It was highlighted that youth work is absolutely essential when it comes to anti-bullying approaches. respectme agreed to share a full conference report with the group in the coming weeks.

Action: respectme to share report on world Anti-Bullying Forum once available.

Definition of bullying

The chair highlighted the discussions on the definition so far have been really helpful. SG will engage on different elements of this and bring back for a fuller discussion in December.

Policy landscape and legal framework

 The chair highlighted an extract from the guidance setting out the policy landscape and legal framework. A number of updates have been made to this section by internal colleagues. SG confirmed its thinking on doing this was that this section accounts for quite a large part of the guidance and it was an area we were able to make quick progress in without relying on other inputs. Some of the policy will also inform the framing of the guidance.

Engagement with children and young people

The chair advised that there are a number of plans in place to engage with children and young people on this work. SG provided an overview of upcoming engagement events:

  • respectme anti-bullying event with young people taking place in Parliament on 16 November
  • NPFS Youth Group (date TBC)
  • Potential to engage with Glasgow Council’s Youth Forum (date TBC)
  • SYP consultation workshop in December
  • Summit for children and young people on relationships and behaviour (inc. Bullying) (December)

Members were then invited for any thoughts. A couple points highlighted were:

  • Young ambassadors of inclusion (Children of Scotland) could be approached.
  • SG confirmed they were in discussion with NPFS about engagement with parents and carers.

Members were invited to contact the SG with any thoughts/suggestions around the engagement with children in young people which is due to place over the next few months.


The chair highlighted the date of the next meeting which will be taking place on Tuesday 12 December. It was also noted that SG will arrange meetings in the diary up to June 2024 in due course.

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