Education Scotland publishes new bullying report

Cover of 'Approaches to recording and monitoring incidents of bullying in schools'Scotland's HM Inspectors of Education have published a new report looking at how bullying is reported and monitored across primary, secondary and special schools throughout Scotland.

During September and October 2022, HM Inspectors visited 35 schools across all local authorities. Engaging with teachers, learners and parents they invited views on the approaches used by schools when addressing alleged incidents of bullying.

Bullying behaviour has a profound impact on the learning potential and wellbeing of children and young people and while all school leaders recognised the value of recording occurrences of bullying, inconsistencies were found in ways they were being recorded and monitored.

In around a third of schools, senior leaders did not have a ‘whole school’ process in place for monitoring incidents of bullying, making it difficult to identify patterns and trends across the school, therefore limiting proactive interventions by staff.

Education Scotland’s HM Chief Inspector of Education, Gayle Gorman said: "While schools using systematic approaches for recording and monitoring reported a reduction in bullying, our review highlights that this is not yet consistent across all schools. There is now a real need to improve how this is being done to ensure our children and young people feel safe, protected and listened to."

In most schools, the anti-bullying policy and day-to-day practice showed schools had adopted a wide range of strategies to prevent and respond to incidents of bullying, placing a high degree of importance on developing positive relationships. Most children and young people knew who to speak to if they were being bullied and agreed that their school did not accept bullying.

Janie McManus, Education Scotland’s Strategic Director for Scrutiny added: "HM Inspectors found that staff across schools showed a commitment to creating safe and secure environments where bullying is openly acknowledged, discussed and challenged as unacceptable behaviour. We intend for the findings to be used to take forward work in continuing to tackle bullying."

Download the report to explore the findings and read the recommendations.