New anti-bullying school strategy endorsed by SBC

Bullying in schools across the Borders is to be tackled head-on with the launch of a newly-adopted strategy.
Scottish Borders Council has renewed its policy on bullying in schools. Photo: Pixabay.Scottish Borders Council has renewed its policy on bullying in schools. Photo: Pixabay.
Scottish Borders Council has renewed its policy on bullying in schools. Photo: Pixabay.

Figures released last year showed that between August 2021 and February 2022 there were no less than 121 reported incidents of bullying across all the region’s nine secondary schools, with Earlston the highest at 23.

Peebles was second with 21, and Galashiels next with 19 incidents. Selkirk and Berwickshire both saw 14 recorded incidents, Eyemouth 12, and Hawick and Kelso 7, while Jedburgh’s new Grammar Campus showed only four.

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Despite the alarming figures a council spokesperson at the time said there was no evidence of ‘systematic bullying’.

Now Scottish Borders Council’s has updated its ‘Respectful Relationships and Anti-Bullying Schools policy, which is to be implemented across the region, after being endorsed by the local authority’s Education Sub-Committee.

Over the last six months the policy has been updated and revised with a focus on positive attitude; an aim to reduce the number of incidents of bullying behaviour; to implement a clear and consistent process of dealing with any incidents, and that all schools work to the same guidelines.

All SBC schools and education establishments will complete the Respectful Relationships and Anti-Bullying Establishment Statementto show they agree and endorse the policy; thereafter they will create their own statement in partnership with children, young people, parents and carers ensuring they are involved in the discussions.

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The policy will provide a consistency of approach across all learning settings, ensuring respectful relationships are embraced at all times and bullying is addressed quickly and effectively if it occurs.

Councillor Leagh Douglas, SBC’s executive member for Education and Lifelong Learning, said: “This policy follows a number of overarching principles including United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), Curriculum for Excellence, Getting it Right for Every Child (GIRFEC) and importantly Participation and Involvement of learners and parents.

“Our vision is that all learning establishments are safe, respectful and nurturing environments, seeking to recognise the full potential of all young people and bring out the best in them, especially in challenging situations such as those created by bullying. It is critical, therefore, that those who play a role in the lives of children and young people in the Scottish Borders are equipped to prevent and respond effectively to any incidents of bullying and or disrespectful behaviour.

“Good relations come from respect, when we respect each other we’re more likely to work and support each other, whether that’s at home, the workplace or in our schools. I very much welcome this policy and look forward to it being implemented and embedded in our schools across the Scottish Borders.”