Scottish Advisory Group on Relationships and Behaviour in Schools minutes: April 2024

Minutes from the meeting of Scottish Advisory Group on Relationships and Behaviour in Schools on 16th April 2024

Attendees and apologies

  • Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills (Chair)
  • COSLA Spokesperson on Children and Young People
  • Education Scotland
  • GTCS
  • National Parent Forum of Scotland (NPFS)
  • respectme
  • School Leaders Scotland (SLS)
  • Scottish Secondary Teachers Association (SSTA)
  • Association of Scottish Principal Educational Psychologists (ASPEP)
  • Support and Wellbeing Unit, Scottish Government (Secretariat) 


  • Association of Headteachers and Deputies Scotland (AHDS)
  • Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS)
  • ADES
  • Scottish Council of Deans of Education

Items and actions

Welcome and apologies

The chair welcomed attendees and apologies were noted.  

Minutes of meeting on 20 March 2024

The chair noted the minutes from the meeting held on 20 March had been circulated for approval and invited comments from members. Members agreed the content of the minutes and that these could be published on the Scottish Government website.

Action: SG to publish minutes from 20 March on the Scottish Government website

Draft refreshed mobile phone guidance – update

The chair noted a revised draft of the guidance had been circulated for consideration. The chair invited the Scottish Government Support and Wellbeing Unit to update on the amendments that had been made. Some points highlighted were:

  • the redraft process had taken account of discussions at previous meetings, and further comments sent by SAGRABIS members by correspondence
  • the majority of members had so far indicated their support of the guidance and provided their logos for inclusion within the guidance. SG was following up with those members who had not yet responded
  • as the guidance had now been agreed by SAGRABIS, it would proceed to the publication stage

A SAGRABIS member emphasised the need to communications around the mobile guidance to be placed in the wider context of relationships and behaviour policies in schools. There was also a request for advance notice of the publication of the guidance to support member organisations’ communications around the launch.

Action: SG to follow up with SAGRABIS members who had not yet provided a copy of their organisation’s logo

Action: SG to provide SAGRABIS with information on the launch date of the guidance to assist with preparation of communications activity 

Draft joint action plan

The chair noted this was the fourth time SAGRABIS had considered the draft action plan, following discussions about initial approach at the December meeting, and a more detailed discussion at the January and March meetings. Further written comments had been made since the last meeting, and these had been reflected in the plan, where appropriate.

The Scottish Government Support and Wellbeing Unit thanked members for comments and provided an update on the amendments to the draft since the last meeting. It was made clear that the plan is intended to be implemented across 3 years, between its publication and 31 March 2027. Members were invited to provide any further comments:

  • it was suggested that all outcomes relating to experiences of behaviour be grouped in the same section
  • use of mobile phones should be changed to misuse
  • it would be helpful if the plan was more explicit that schools should have a relationships and behavioural policy. For those that had policies, many were still focused on behaviour management rather than relationships and behaviour
  • a number of members expressed interest in being involved in the working group to develop further guidance on consequences
  • it was suggested it may be helpful to undertake teacher-led research on what is working within the classroom
  • it would be helpful to have guidance on how the rights of different groups interact
  • more should be included within the narrative and within the actions about appropriate responses for those young people who do not respond positively to consequences
  • to was noted that consequences could be positive and that work around this should reference this
  • more actions should be included relating to additional support needs and trauma
  • the definition of violence should seek to join up relevant legislation
  • there were multiple ways that parents and carers could be involved across the plan, and this should be made clearer. It would be helpful to have guidance about how to support parents around the collective role shared by schools and parents around behaviour
  • following the suggestion that there could potentially be an annex to the plan containing exemplars of appropriate support mechanisms, it was confirmed this was included within the actions, but that the wording could be made clearer
  • exclusion was often a measure used to get appropriate support in place, but the term was not recognised as a supportive term. While other language may be preferable, it was noted that exclusion was the language used in the legislation
  • it was suggested it may be helpful to capture youth voice in the discussions about consequences
  • it was confirmed there was an action within the plan to look at how the system of reporting could be rationalised. There were discussions on views around national reporting and it was suggested that lessons could perhaps be learnt from national approaches to health data
  • it was important to consider how to communicate the plan to the workforce

The chair acknowledged the insightful conversation and thanked the officials and members for their efforts.

Action: SG to amend the plan to reflect discussions in advance of the next meeting

Next steps

The chair noted the next meeting of SAGRABIS would be held on Tuesday 14th May, when it was intended that the action plan be agreed, as far as possible, in order to meet a Spring publication deadline. Further work would be taken forward in the intervening period.

Any Other Business

The chair asked that National Reporting be placed on the agenda at the next meeting.

No other business was raised. The chair closed the meeting.

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