Bullying is number one concern for Scottish parents

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Bullying is the number one concern for parents ahead of Scottish schools going back this week, according to a poll by leading charity, Action for Children Scotland.

The survey of 1000 families across Scotland also highlighted parental worries about children’s emotional wellbeing, the cost of school uniform and simply getting kids back into the school routine.

Families revealed that they would benefit from one to one support to help with issues, and more availability of after school clubs and classes.

The charity is using the survey results to highlight the need for parents to talk to their children regularly, monitor use of social media and build family time into busy lives, when young people and children are more likely to engage and open up about their problems.

Paul Carberry, Director of Action for Children Scotland, 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 has welcomed the Scottish Government’s ‘Pupil Equity Fund’ which can be used by Head Teachers in a flexible way to tackle issues and difficulties which may result in some children being disadvantaged at school by circumstances outside their control.

Paul Carberry added: “The ‘Pupil Equity Fund’ is a real opportunity to make a difference to those children who are at greatest risk of non-attainment, and to bring in flexible support to help address the challenges.”

The charity has issued their Top Five tips for parents as children go back to school. Louise McKechnie is a Family Support Practitioner at Action for Children Scotland’s Glasgow Family Wellbeing Partnership which supports vulnerable families in Glasgow. Louise says:

1. Bedtime routine: Establishing a good bedtime routine is key. Over the summer holidays, children are usually out of this routine. Having a chat to children about that change and making sure that children are prepared for making it is important to avoid chaos in the morning!

2. Be prepared: Preparing uniforms, shoes and lunches the night before is very important. If these things aren’t ready in the morning, then that’s another stress for both parents and children. By having everything ready the night before, it means the children can be ready to go quickly in the morning.

3. Speak to teachers: Often parents we work with have concerns about bullying, additional needs or emotional wellbeing. Communication with the school in advance and setting out a support plan helps to reduce any worries for parents and child.

4. Know what school policies are: Particularly in relation to late comings and absence and how to report these. Having the school numbers handy and having them logged in your phone is essential as is making sure your phone has credit.

5. Finding out about school clubs: This poll highlighted how valuable parents regard these sorts of activities for their children. The school handbook details what clubs are available and schools often issue letters about activities happening throughout the year. Schools are easily contactable so there are a number of ways to find out what is available and the sort of activities your children can take part in.