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

Ian Rivers, Brian Donnelly, Fergus McMillan, Brandi Lee Lough Dennell

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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.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationGlasgow
PublisherUniversity of Strathclyde
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - May 2016


  • bullying
  • Scottish education
  • Scotland
  • prejudice-based bullying
  • mental health


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