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Tackling Bullying in Scotland's Schools : a View from the Sidelines

Rivers, Ian and Donnelly, Brian and McMillan, Fergus and Lough Dennell, Brandi Lee (2016) Tackling Bullying in Scotland's Schools : a View from the Sidelines. [Report]

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This policy brief considers the proposals to reduce bullying in Scotland's schools. A number of interventions have been introduced in Scotland’s schools that that place an emphasis on peer-initiated interventions. However these interventions often fail to consider the mental health and wellbeing of the pupils involved. The role of the so-called pupil 'bystander' is fundamentally misunderstood as these pupils often have multiple roles within ‘school yard’ culture. The lack of independently evaluated evidence on the success of direct pupil-initiated interventions to reduce the level of bullying in schools should be of concern to policymakers. A key recommendation is that schools, education authorities and policymakers pause, review the evidence and have an informed discussion about the most effective interventions to deliver safer schools in Scotland.