Respect for All Review Working Group minutes: May 2023

Minutes from the meeting of Respect for All Review Working Group on 17 May 2023

Attendees and apologies


  • Scottish Government – Support and Wellbeing Unit (Chair)
  • Association of Headteachers and Deputies Scotland (AHDS)
  • General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS)
  • National Parent Forum of Scotland (NPFS)
  • respectme
  • Police Scotland
  • The Association of Scottish Principal Educational Psychologists (ASPEP)
  • School Leaders Scotland (SLS)
  • Scottish Secondary Teachers Association (SSTA)
  • Scottish Government – Support and Wellbeing Unit (secretariat)


  • Education Scotland
  • Equality & Human Rights Commission (EHRC)
  • Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS)

Items and actions

Welcome and introductions

The Chair welcomed members to the group and apologies were made.

Note of previous meeting

Members confirmed they were content with the minutes of the previous meeting.

The Chair advised that an Objective Connect space had been set up to add all meeting papers and to work on the guidance update collaboratively.

SSTA advised they had difficulty in editing the document in Connect. SG confirmed they would explore the functionality of Connect.

Action: SG to explore functionality of the Connect shared space to establish whether it is appropriate for the purpose of this group

Terms of Reference

Draft Terms of Reference (ToR) for the working group were circulated with the papers. The Chair advised these set out expectations of how the group will operate and what it is designed to achieve. Members asked for clarification of the communication section regarding expectations on members, and also for the connections with the Scottish Advisory Group on Relationships AND Behaviour to be made clearer. SG agreed to circulate an updated version with papers for the next meeting.

Action: SG to update Terms of Reference and circulate to the group for agreement

Review of existing guidance

The group worked through Section 1 (‘Respect for All: the current approach to anti-bullying’) and discussed what sections they felt required updating. Points made included:

  • There were perceived limitations for schools in responding to behaviours that took place outwith school time, though this was challenging when the impact of this was affecting a young person during school
  • More clarity is required on the definition of bullying and particularly how the definition was intended to be applied in practice, which had an impact on recording of incidents
  • It should be clear that while an important element of understanding bullying is understanding the impact, the behaviour should be challenged even if no impact was caused
  • respectme highlighted that UNESCO were reviewing the international definition of bullying, and agreed to share a paper on their approach for the next meeting
  • Members were generally content with the vision, but considered some updates were required on language, particularly around ‘resilience.’ It was agreed this would be revisited at a future meeting
  • There was discussion around whether prejudice-based bullying should more appropriately be named identity-based bullying. However, this was not felt to adequately reflect forms of bullying such as socio-economic-related bullying, or bullying relating to parental substance use
  • It was agreed it would be helpful to separate bullying relating to legislated protected characteristics from other prejudiced-based bullying
  • It was agreed there should be expanded discussion of other prejudice-based bullying, particularly socio-economic bullying
  • The online section required updating, particularly in relation to at what point schools have responsibility for these to be recordable incidents, and schools’ responsibilities in light of the cCommunications Act
  • Concerns were raised that school bullying policies are often incorporated into wider school policies meaning parents often don’t have clarity on what the anti-bullying policy is
  • It was clarified that if a school doesn’t have an anti-bullying policy in place then it would default to the local authority’s policy
  • A number of authorities are waiting for the Respect for All update before updating their policy
  • It was suggested a flowchart or an exemplar for parents and staff would be helpful to show process of recording and monitoring bullying incidents and what the information is used for
  • SG confirmed that the communications section in the updated guidance will include advice for schools on communicating with parents, carers and children and young people and that future meetings would consider how that could best be achieved
  • respectme highlighted the ‘respectme reward’ for schools to evaluate their own anti-bullying policy - Respect Me Self Assessment Toolkit for schoolsrespectme. respectme confirmed that case studies will be developed once schools have completed the assessment

Action: Next meeting on 20 June 2023 to focus on definition of bullying and related topics

Action: Sub-group to be established to consider prejudiced-based bullying section

Action: Members to share any relevant research with the SG that might support or be in included in the updated guidance

Action: respectme to share UNESCO paper in advance of next meeting


Next meeting will take place on 20 June, 11:00-12:30. SG advised they would issue Doodle Polls for the remaining meetings for the year.

Action: SG to issue Doodle Polls for next two meetings

No other business was raised.

Back to top