The second of the Scottish Government’s summits on pupil behaviour took place in Edinburgh on 25th October 2023.
The meeting focused on relationships and behaviour in schools, with Colin Finlay, our representative from the Education Committee, attending to highlight the issues members are facing on a daily basis in our schools.
- There are more learners, with a greater number and wider complexity of additional support needs, being taught in mainstream classes without adequate support.
- In addition to violent incidents, teachers are reporting a significant rise in challenging behaviour – for example, learners refusing to follow reasonable instructions; verbal abuse; misuse of mobile phones; disruption to learning by pupils roaming corridors; and increasing use of vapes on school premises, to name but a few.
- There is a need for significant investment in core education funding, particularly in relation to ASN, to address these issues.
- Smaller class sizes, increased investment in specialist ASL teaching and support staff and funding to reverse the deep cuts to health, social work and support agencies are also necessary to effect the necessary change.
- Restorative approaches are the most effective way to address behavioural issues in schools, provided they are appropriately resourced, consistently applied with clear consequences and that teachers are supported, through provision of sufficient time and professional learning, to implement them in classes.
The next summit will take place on Wednesday, 15th November 2023, with the Behaviour in Scottish Schools research due to be published later this month.
We await the Scottish Government’s response to the Behaviour Summits but are clear that teachers expect these to be more than a talking shop; they must result in action to address disruptive behaviour and violence in schools