School bullying data shock in North Lanarkshire during investigation that started elsewhere

A parent has expressed “serious concern” about the way local authorities handle the reporting of bullying in schools.

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

The parent said councils are 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.

Figures released by North Lanarkshire Council in response to a Freedom of Information request show that with 155 schools in the authority area, in 2018-2019 148 bullying incidents were recorded, an average of 0.95 incidents per school per year or a maximum 0.3% of pupils being bullied.

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For 2019/20 the figure was 79 recorded bullying incidents, an average of 0.51 incidents per school per year or a maximum 0.16% of pupils being bullied, and in 2020/21 the figure was lower still at just68 recorded bullying incidents, averaging 0.43 incidents per school per year or a maximum 0.13% of pupils being bullied.

The parent was initially investigating issues in East Dunbartonshire but widened their research to compare that authority with others and found North Lanarkshire’ performance to be “even worse”.

It also took that parent two years to obtain the school’s information on their own child, and these showed no incidents had been properly recorded.

The Scottish Government has now said it will investigate how well its guidance on recording incidents of bullying in schools is being implemented by local authorities.

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.”

A North Lanarkshire Council spokesperson said: “Our schools have a clear vision to ensure all children are nurtured, supported and challenged to enable them to aspire to and achieve their full potential and we have a zero tolerance policy where bullying is concerned.

"We have a clear policy on the recording of incidents in our schools and our head teachers and teachers are clear on their duties under this policy

"Our schools work to foster an environment of respect, fairness, kindness and achievement.”