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Behaviour in Scottish Schools study

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What is the Behaviour in Scottish Schools study?
How will the findings be used?
Why does behaviour in schools matter?
Why take part?
Why has my school been asked to take part?
Why have I been asked to take part?
What questions will you ask?
Can I take part on a smart phone?
When do I need to complete the questionnaire by?
Who is ScotCen?
Privacy notice
Need help?
Useful contacts
Contact us

You can download a copy of our letter to head teachers in pdf here.

What is the Behaviour in Scottish Schools study?

Behaviour in Scottish Schools seeks the opinions of teachers, head teachers, and support staff to develop a robust national picture of relationships and behaviour in publicly funded mainstream schools. As the key source of data on pupil relationships and behaviour in Scotland it is crucial for developing policy and practice in relation to managing behaviour at both the national and local level.

Since 2006 the Behaviour in Scottish Schools study has been investigating:
- the range of positive and negative pupil behaviours in the classroom and around the school;
- different approaches to promoting positive relationships and behaviour, and
- support received by school staff in this area.

The research also now provides a unique opportunity to gain insight into pupil behaviour at the time of the COVID-19 pandemic with questionnaires updated to reflect this.

How will the findings be used?

The findings of the research will be used to inform future guidance and national policy on behaviour and relationships in Scottish schools. It isn’t just the Scottish Government that are interested in the study findings. Behaviour in Schools has the backing of the Scottish Advisory Group on Behaviour in Schools (SAGRABIS), COSLA, GTCS, Education Scotland and all the teaching unions. You can read the findings from the 2016 study here.

Why does behaviour in schools matter?

The focus on improving positive relationships and behaviour is central to the successful delivery of Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) and the implementation of Getting it Right for Every Child (GIRFEC). A key goal for the Scottish education system is to ensure that positive learning behaviour and good relationships between classmates and teachers exists in all schools and that this is continually improving. The starting point for learning is a positive ethos and a climate of mutual respect and trust, based upon shared values across whole school communities, where everyone can learn and work in a peaceful and safe environment. CfE has an important role to play in promoting the health and wellbeing of children and young people and of all of those in the educational communities to which they belong.

Why take part?

A little time to make a big difference

The information provided by head teachers, teachers and support staff will provide the Scottish Government with accurate information about positive and negative behaviour in publicly funded mainstream schools across Scotland and identify how best to support approaches to promoting positive relationships and behaviour. The research also now provides a unique opportunity to capture your insight into pupil behaviour at the time of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is the key source of data on pupil behaviour in Scotland so this is a unique opportunity for you to let us know about your experience. No specialist knowledge is required to take part and no individuals will be identified in research findings.

Why has my school been asked to take part?

To ensure we get a truly representative picture of pupil behaviour across Scotland all publicly funded secondary schools, and a random selection of primary schools, are being invited to participate. The more headteachers, teachers and support staff take part then the more accurately the study can reflect what is happening in Scottish schools. The survey is available online, with a paper option provided for support staff.

Why have I been asked to take part?

To keep the burden on schools and staff to a minimum we are asking a random selection of teachers and support staff within each school to take part. The study has been designed to ensure that the findings are representative of the experiences of all teachers and support staff. This is a unique opportunity to tell us about your experience of positive and negative pupil behaviour at your school. Remember that this is not an assessment of you or your school. No school or staff member will be identifiable in study findings.

What questions will you ask? 

This study includes a variety of straightforward questions on the range of positive and negative pupil behaviours you may come across in your school. The research also now provides a unique opportunity to gain insight into pupil behaviour at the time of the COVID-19 pandemic with questionnaires updated to reflect this. You will be able to skip any question you do not wish to answer.

Can I complete the questionnaire on my smart phone?

We recommend that you complete the questionnaire on a laptop or PC. It is possible to answer the questionnaire on a smart phone or tablet but it is likely to take considerably longer to answer the questions this way.

When do we need to fill in the questionnaire by?

The information sent to you school contains information on when the survey will be active until. If you cannot find this information, you can contact us using the details in the ‘Contact Us’ page.

You can do the survey at a time that is convenient for you. You do not have to complete the questionnaire in one sitting. If you want to take a break and finish it at another time you can just leave the survey and return to complete it later. Simply close your browser window, then return to the survey link when you’re ready to continue and type in your password. Please wait at least 1 minute between closing your browser window and returning to the survey.

Who is ScotCen?

50 years experience

ScotCen is part of NatCen Social Research, Britain’s leading centre for independent social research. Based in Edinburgh, we have over a decade’s experience of listening to the public and making sure their voice is heard. We are a non-profit organisation, independent of all government departments and political parties.

Uncovering real opinions

We are commissioned by government and charities to uncover the real views of people in Scotland today. What we find out is used to inform policy and make a difference to the lives of people across the nation.

Helping the nation

We are a charity and information from surveys we carry out is made publicly available. So it’s not just helping our clients, it’s used by other organisations trying to improve life in Scotland.

Privacy notice

You can view the privacy notice for the study here.

Need any help?

If you have lost or misplaced your letter, with the survey link and your access code, in the first instance speak to the ‘key contact’ at your school. This will be the person who gave you the letter to take part. They will be able to provide you with the link and a spare code if needed. If the link or code don’t appear to be working please doublecheck that you have typed everything correctly. If you have tried at least twice and it is still not working, ask your ‘key contact’ to contact us directly; or you can contact us yourself using the details below.

Useful contacts

We appreciate that some people may find some of the questions in the survey quite sensitive. Below is a list of some useful contact organisations that can help if you would like some support or to discuss any of the topics that came up in the survey.

Samaritans – www.samaritans.org / Tel - 116 123

NHS 24 – www.nhs24.scot

Clearyourhead - www.clearyourhead.scot  

Barnardos Scotland - www.barnardos.org.uk/scotland / Tel - 0131 446 7000

Place2Be Scotland www.place2be.org.uk / Tel - 020 7923 5500

NSPCC - nspcc.org.uk / Tel – 0808 800 5000

Childline - www.childline.org.uk / 0800 1111

Citizens Advice Bureau – www.citizensadvice.org.uk

Contact us

If you have any questions at all, or would like to see copies of any of the surveys, you can contact a member of the research team by emailing biss@scotcen.org.uk

Alternatively, you can contact us on the Freephone number 0800 652 0501.