Anti-Bullying Week

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18 November 2016

Aqeel Ahmed, MSYP for Glasgow Pollok and the Convenor of the Education and Lifelong Learning Committee blogs about Anit-Bullying Week, and ways to make schools a safer and more inclusive place for young people in Scotland. 


Anti-Bullying Week has cast an important light on an issue that affects far too many young people. Bullying can negatively impact every element of someone’s life, from their ability to succeed in school academically, to their mental health and wellbeing. As the Convenor of the Scottish Youth Parliament’s Education and Lifelong Learning Committee, stamping out all forms of bullying in Scottish schools is very important to me and all the members of the Committee.

Our Committee feels that education is a crucial element to ending bullying, and that the support offered to young people in schools is vital to their wellbeing and their academic and social success. There is a huge amount of research and evidence which points to the fact that young people who identify as LGBTI+ are at greater risk of being bullied. Our Committee is very supportive of the Time for Inclusive Education campaign, which aims to ensure that all schools in Scotland offer an LGBTI+ inclusive education.

The Scottish Youth Parliament is currently campaigning on young people’s mental health, and have published a research report, Our generation’s epidemic, looking at young people’s experience and awareness of mental health services, support, and information. The report makes a series of recommendations based on the findings, many of which relate to education in schools and universities. We need to be learning about inclusivity, and our mental health and wellbeing to combat both the causes and effects of bullying.  

Scotland’s young people need strong and decisive action taken to ensure no young person is left in the dark, either because they have been bullied or are seeking support for their mental health. At a time when the Scottish Government is reviewing education, and there is a lot of focus on improving attainment, issues of inclusivity, bullying, and mental health education must be at the forefront of this review.

Most important is to put young peoples’ voices at the centre of these conversations so we can ensure that measures put in place will work for young people. Bullying is a complex issue, and connects to many other aspects of young peoples’ lives. A holistic approach needs to be taken to ensure that Scotland is a fair place for all young people - an aspiration that I hope we can all commit and aspire to.