Swinney rules out law change on searches

The Scottish Goverment issued its response to the report into Bailey Gwynne's death
The Scottish Goverment issued its response to the report into Bailey Gwynne's death

A recommendation to change the law to give teachers powers to search pupils will not be taken forward by the Scottish Government.

Education Secretary and Deputy First Minister John Swinney was outlining their response following the report into the death of Cults Academy pupil Bailey Gwynne.

Report author Andrew Lowe made 21 recommendations

Report author Andrew Lowe made 21 recommendations

Child protection expert Andrew Lowe’s review, published last October, contained 21 recommendations but Mr Swinney said he would not seek to change the law in relation to the search of pupils.

But he told MSPs they would act on the recommendation for tighter controls on the sale of weapons online.

A UK-wide approach will be sought to address concerns about the online sale and delivery of knives.

Bailey, 16, was stabbed during a fight with a fellow pupils at Cults Academy.

His killer is serving nine years for culpable homicide.

Mr Lowe’s review found that the death was “potentially avoidable”.

Mr Swinney told the chamber he wanted to “express my heartfelt sympathies” to the teenager’s family and “to acknowledge the resilience and dignity they have shown since Bailey’s death”.

Scotland’s biggest teaching union, the EIS, welcomed the Holyrood statement.

General Secretary Larry Flanagan said: “It was absolutely right that a major independent review was carried out into the circumstances that led to this tragic event.

“The EIS welcomes the fact that the Scottish Government has taken the time to look carefully at the results of the review, and that it has delivered an appropriately measured response on what is clearly a very challenging and emotive issue.”

Mr Flanagan added: “The EIS believes that the Scottish Government has taken the correct view in ruling out statutory powers to enable searching of pupils without parental support.

“Experience from England, where teachers have such power, does not suggest that it is a crucial area of intervention. Instead the focus should continue to be on building positive relationships in schools.”