Respect for All Review Working Group Minutes: June 2023

Minutes from the meeting of Respect for All Review Working 20 June 2023

Attendees and apologies

  • Support and Wellbeing Unit, Scottish Government (chair)
  • Education Scotland
  • National Parent Forum of Scotland
  • Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS)
  • Scottish Secondary Teachers Association (SSTA)
  • Police Scotland
  • respectme
  • Scottish Youth Parliament
  • Association of Headteachers and Deputes Scotland (AHDS)
  • School Leaders Scotland (SLS)
  • Support and Wellbeing Unit, Scottish Government (secretariat)


  • General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS)
  • Association of Scottish Principal Educational Psychologists (ASPEP)
  • Association of Directors of Education Scotland (ADES)

Items and actions

Welcome and introductions

The chair welcomed attendees and introduced new members.

The chair reiterated that the working group was to provide an opportunity to hear members’ reflections and thoughts on how the Respect for All guidance can be strengthened to help support schools and staff.

Minutes from previous meeting

The group were content with the minutes following the correction of a typing error.

Action: SG to add “in schools” to the Scottish Advisory Group for Relationships and Behaviour reference in the previous minutes.

Terms of reference

The chair advised that the Terms of Reference had been updated following suggested changes at the previous meeting.

The chair also advised that the membership of the group remains a work in progress and that the SG is exploring additional children and young people representatives to be part of the group.

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.

Action: SG to review Terms of Reference to ensure outcomes are tangible and clear.

Definition of bullying

One of the areas for improvement identified in Education Scotland’s Thematic Inspection report was around ensuring schools and local authorities have a shared understanding of the definition of bullying. A paper had also been shared on proposals for defining bullying by the World Anti-Bullying Forum. The Chair welcomed comments from the group around definition of bullying currently provided in the national anti-bullying guidance and international proposals.

Members made a number of comments which covered a range of views. These included:

  • the current definition is progressive and Scotland has led the way in this area for a number of years
  • the definition is not parent friendly – jargon filled sentence and is too clunky
  • definition should cover wider than just school bullying
  • children and young people must be involved in any amendments made to the definition
  • bullying and violence can be independent and can also meet in the middle. Need to explain the nuanced relationship between the two. Too often its conflated when not always linked
  • need to ensure racism is separated out from bullying
  • need to explore if/how the approach is when addressing bullying involving pupils with additional support needs
  • need to focus on definition first then look at what needs recorded
  • world anti-bullying forum will meet in October 2023 where the definition of bullying will be discussed.

Wider comments on the guidance included:

  • need to keep the working group manageable but members happy to proceed with having sub groups to look at the protected characteristics sections in the guidance. Can review if not working
  • need to be mindful of the working groups that already exist around some of the protected characteristics
  • people can also be targeted for social factors, such as poverty, and this needs drawn out more in the guidance
  • keen to see what working is taking place in this area in Wales and Northern Ireland.
  • continue to reach out to wider stakeholders on this – CRER, for example
  • children’s rights are key to the guidance and needs to be a rights based framework. Need to be clear on what rights are being breached and what rights are being upheld
  • police section in the guidance needs to be clearer
  • incidents out with school will impact on schools and this needs to be addressed in the guidance.


No other business was raised.

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