Parents' concern about the way reports of bullying are handled

An East Dunbartonshire parent has expressed “serious concern” about the way the council is handling the reporting of bullying in schools.

Sign up to our GlasgowWorld Today newsletter

There are fears that incidents of bullying are not being properly recorded Pic: Getty Images

The parent, who has requested anonymity, believes East Dunbartonshire Council is not doing enough to comply with government rules on the reporting of bullying issues and urges other families to ensure their cases are being handled properly.

The parent said: “The council has 44 schools. In 2018/19 they recorded 125 bullying incidents. This works out at 2.84 incidents per school year per school or a maximum of 0.72 per cent of children being being based on the assumption that every child was bullied only once which we know is unlikely.

“In 2019/20 they recorded 94 bullying incidents. This works out at 2.13 incidents per school in this year or a maximum of 0.54 per cent of pupils being bullied. This was a shorter year with school ending on March 24 due to Covid. It did not reopen after the Easter Break.

Sign up to our GlasgowWorld Today newsletter

“In 2020/21 they recorded 55 bullying incidents. This works out at 1.25 incidents per school in this year or a maximum of 0.31 per cent of pupils being bullied. This was a shorter year in that all schools shut on January 6, 2021 due to Covid. Younger children returned on February 22 and the older ones on March 15 so the interruption was less than the previous year.”

The parent says it took two years to obtain a copy of their child’s education records and that they showed no incidents of bullying had been properly recorded.

A complaint was partially upheld by the council, which admitted it had not recorded the issues in the new Bullying and Equalities Module which has been introduced by the Government, but as teachers have been given full training on this the parent refuses to accept this explanation.

The parent then lodged Freedom of Information Act requests with all 32 Scottish Councils which showed there may be a widespread problem with the reporting of incidents in schools and the Scottish Government has committed to investigate how well its guidance is being implemented.

The parent added: “My advice to parents is to ensure that bullying is recorded properly and if things are not sorted get a copy of your child’s record to be sure it has been recorded and actioned properly.”

The council’s depute chief executive Ann Davie responded: “The council takes all allegations of bullying seriously and schools take appropriate action to investigate and plan resolution for our young people as required.

"During the pandemic, reports have reduced due to pupils not being in attendance at school. We are confident in our recording procedures, however, the policy for recording bullying will again be highlighted to schools to ensure all incidents are dealt with as efficiently and effectively as possible.”