Scottish Advisory Group on Relationships and Behaviour In Schools minutes: February 2022

Minutes from the Scottish Advisory Group on Relationships and Behaviour In Schools February 2022.

Attendees and apologies


  • Association of Directors of Education Scotland (ADES) (Chair)
  • Scottish Secondary Teachers Association (SSTA)
  • Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS)
  • COSLA Children and Young People’s Team
  • Scottish Council of Deans of Education (SCDE)
  • General Teaching Council Scotland (GTCS)
  • School Leaders Scotland (SLS)
  • Association of Headteachers and Deputies Scotland (AHDS)
  • National Associations of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT)
  • Education Scotland
  • respectme
  • Education Analytical Services, Scottish Government
  • Support and Wellbeing Unit, Scottish Government


  • Association of Scottish Principal Educational Psychologists (ASPEP)

Items and actions

Welcome and apologies

The chair welcomed attendees and apologies were noted.

SCDE highlighted that their name on the SAGRABIS webpage showed their previous name and therefore required updating.

Action: SG to update SCDE’s name on SG webpage.

Note of previous meeting

COSLA advised their team’s name had changed and should be updated in the previous minute to the Children and Young People’s Team. Members were otherwise content to agree the minute.

Action: SG to update COSLA’s name in the previous minutes and publish on the webpage.

Terms of reference (ToR)

COSLA advised their name also required to be updated in the ToR. Members otherwise agreed they were content with the updated ToR.

Action: SG to update COSLAs name in the ToR and publish on the website.

Behaviour in Scottish Schools Research (BISSR)

SG thanked members for providing their views in response to the options paper that was circulated in December on the next iteration of BISSR.

The paper provided the option to retain or remove the qualitative fieldwork aspect of the research. It also asked members for their views on whether the research should commence in Autumn 2022 or Spring 2023.

There was unanimous agreement from members that the qualitative fieldwork aspect should be retained and that the research should begin in Spring 2023.

SG advised the procurement specification would remain the same and would be in place by mid-April 2022. The specification would be shared with members for any last minute changes. The aim would be to finalise the invitation to tender by the end of May with tenders being returned by the end of June and contract awarded in September. This would give the contractors sufficient time to conduct fieldwork early Spring 2023.

Action: SG to share procurement specification for BISSR with members once available.

There is an option to suggest additional questions in BISSR, around COVID for example. The group agreed to postpone reviewing the additional questions to establish the position on COVID later in the year and potentially use the questions to ask something else.

It was noted that there may also be scope to ask contractors to contextualise the results of the research in terms of the health and wellbeing census.

The Promise

SG provided an update on The Promise around the SG’s Learning Directorate’s role in relation to the programme.

The Promise’s Plan 21-24 outlines Scotland’s route map, providing key priorities and areas of focus that organisations will work to achieve over the next 3 years. The Learning Directorate are seeking to identify key actions to delivery plan 21-24 and establish appropriate links across Plan 21 to 24. This includes and establishing how the contribution of local authorities and schools will be captured in response to the Education actions set out in Plan 21to 24.

The Learning Directorate will consider what the strategic actions should be across 2021to 2031 to achieve the ambition of The Promise. The actions articulated in Plan 21 to 24 are important and will require to be built upon in order to achieve the intended change articulated in The Promise. There is therefore a need to consider with partners what the key actions are that will be taken during 2022 to 2031 which can be clearly articulated and sustained over time.

SG advised that in the coming months, there will be a dedicated resource within the Support and Wellbeing Unit working specifically on The Promise to ensure that progress continues to be made, to facilitate engagement and accountability and governance, and to ensure delivery of this change as part of the cross-Government approach.

Members were invited to reflect on the actions, strengths and areas of support as well as any long term actions they would like to see. Members were also asked to consider what the governance arrangements should be on the forming of these actions.

General thoughts and comments were raised:

  • The Promise asks for there to be more connection between care experienced young people and those working with them. Nurture was a common theme that ran through a piece of work done in Glasgow around what made the difference for the young person
  • need to identify actions which can bring nurture and relational approaches to life
  • how is this work linking into the workstream looking at care experienced young people? Need to join up to ensure no overlap or things being missed out
  • Education Scotland is producing thought pieces in order to stimulate cross-sector discussion across the landscape (UNCRC, Angela Morgan Review and the Promise, for example)
  • opportunity now to bring conversations together across Government, agencies, systems and structures
  • there is a real desire out there to do this right and do it well. Need to stop, take time and ensure it is done right
  • SLS representative highlighted a piece of work undertaken in his school and agreed to share with the SG
  • reflections on how schools meet national priorities when there are many layers in between national and them (priorities from local authorities, Regional Improvement Collaboratives and service plans etc)?
  • how do we know what is happening in schools? Where is the quality assurance? Is there a potential that the National Improvement Framework is a mechanism for measuring children and young people’s progress on national priorities?

Action: SLS to share piece of work undertaken in school on care experienced young people with SG.

Concerns were raised about the language of some of the actions in The Promise around care experienced young people participating in all subjects and a non-exclusion approach to care experienced young people in schools. These are sometimes not applicable, appropriate or in the best interest of the young person. It would sometimes be detrimental to the young person in terms of support and risk assessment if exclusion could not be used. It was suggested guidance would be helpful for local authorities as messaging is confusing and some think they must remove exclusion for care experienced young people.

The SG recognises that the asks of Plan 21 to 24 in relation to the removal of the legislative power around exclusions are extremely challenging. In line with current policy, it is not intended that the power to exclude pupils from school will be removed. It is clear that the action in plan 21 to 24 in context is to support the continued support of, and engagement of pupils who are care experienced. In that light, an appropriate focus on improving relationships and behaviour, with support for care experienced young people, will support the intended aim, in relation to ensuring that the use of exclusion for care experienced young people is used as an absolute last resort. Through this approach, there will be work to achieve the aim sought in The Promise by ensuring that care experienced young people are not inappropriately excluded.

Any other business

No other business was raised.

The next meeting will take place in June and will be chaired by the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills. Date to be confirmed.

The chair closed the meeting.

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