Crieff High School review results in new anti-bullying policy

A new anti-bullying policy is to be developed at Crief High School following a review into its culture, policies and processes.

It was commissioned after allegations were made earlier this year that racism, sexism, sexual assault and harassment, homophobia and transphobia were “rife” at the school.

They were included in an open letter published on social media by fifth year student Anna De Garis who also compiled a survey of pupils in a bid to provide evidence to back up her allegations.

The subsequent review’s investigating team spent a week in the school last month talking to pupils, parents and staff.

Perth and Kinross Council has said that the review found that there “is no prevailing culture of bullying or harassment at the school but that some pupils have experienced these behaviours,” according to a local authority spokesperson.

The document, released late last week, states that some were unwilling to report these incidents because of potential repercussions, while others said they were not told what action had been taken after complaints were made.

Crieff High School has a roll of 599 and 694 responses were received to a separate survey about the school undertaken as part of the review – 308 from pupils, 296 from parents and 90 from staff.

In addition, 159 people took part in focus groups which comprised 94 pupils, 23 parents and 42 staff.

The council has said that there were also 23 individual meetings with pupils, staff and parents/carers.

The spokesperson explained: “The review team found evidence of positive relationships in the school, with the majority of pupils reporting a sense of belonging and feeling safe.

“Most said they had an adult at the school they can talk to if worried about something.

“However, it also found there were inconsistent approaches to recording and reporting incidents of bullying and harassment raised with or reported by staff.

“The report concludes more work is necessary to ensure all young people feel valued and supported.”

A new anti-bullying policy should be developed by the end of 2022 with a focus on “promoting positive relationships and approaches to dealing consistently with all inappropriate language and behaviour,” the council representative continued.

Sheena Devlin is PKC’s executive director of education and children’s services. She said: “We want all our children and young people to live full, confident lives so they reach their full potential.

“The review team spent a week listening to pupils, parents and staff about the school hearing not just about where things work well, but where things need to improve.

“Although I’m pleased most pupils feel the school is safe and welcoming, we know school can be an incredibly lonely place for those being bullied and we will always listen to their concerns.

“We want to reassure all pupils, parents and carers that we take bullying extremely seriously and hope the measures set out today will reassure that of our zero-tolerance approach to bullying or discrimination of any kind.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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