School bullying biggest worry for parents, says charity

Bullying is the top concern for parents before Scottish schools going back this week, according to research by a children's charity.

Bullying is the top concern for parents as children head back to school.
Bullying is the top concern for parents as children head back to school.
Bullying is the top concern for parents as children head back to school.

Almost one in five parents said bullying was their key worry, while pupils’ mental wellbeing, the cost of uniforms and getting children back into the school routine also ranked highly, Action for Children Scotland found.

The findings were drawn from a poll of 1,000 parents of five- to 16-year-olds who will be going to school this month.

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Just over 18 per cent listed bullying as their biggest concern, while almost 10 per cent opted for mental health and wellbeing.

More than 14 per cent of those surveyed were most concerned about the cost of new school uniforms, while 16.6 per cent were most 
worried about switching back into the school routine.Around 9 per cent were most concerned about the transition from one school year to another, or from primary to secondary.

The parents, who were questioned by pollster One Poll between 31 July and 9 August, were also asked about the 
factors that would make the biggest difference to pupils’ school experience. Almost 16 per cent chose one-to-one support, around 18 per cent chose peer mentoring and just over 19 per cent said after-school clubs and classes would make the biggest difference.

Action for Children Scotland said the survey results highlighted the need for parents to talk to their children regularly, monitor use of social media and build in family time when their children are more likely to open up about their 

Paul Carberry, director of the charity, said: “We want 
starting the new school year to be a positive, exciting time for children and their parents.

“Our staff are on hand to provide practical and emotional support to help with the transition back to school, recognising the range of challenges that some families face.

“This includes bringing 
parents and teachers together to resolve difficulties jointly and at an early stage.”

The charity also welcomed the Scottish Government’s pupil equity fund, which can be used by schools on measures to reduce the poverty-related attainment gap.

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Mr Carberry added: “The fund is a real opportunity to make a difference to children who are at greatest risk of non-attainment, and to bring in flexible support to help address the challenges.”