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Health and wellbeing in schools

We want all children and young people to be able to learn about health and wellbeing to ensure they acquire skills to live healthy, happy lives.

Health and wellbeing isn't a single subject or class, but is organised into six areas: mental, emotional, social and physical wellbeing; planning for choices and changes; physical education, physical activity and sport; food and health; substance misuse; and relationships, sexual health and parenthood.

Health and wellbeing is also about ensuring that pupils are able to make the most of their educational opportunities regardless of their background or financial circumstances and through promotion of attendance at school.

We have provided a range of resources to ensure children feel happy, safe, included and respected in their learning environment. These resources cover bullying, attendance and school exclusions.

In addition, the latest Behaviour in Scottish Schools Research (2016) survey explored staff, pupils' and parents' experiences of relationships and behaviour in publicly-funded mainstream schools.

In response to this research the Scottish Advisory Group on Relationships and Behaviour in Schools (SAGRABIS) have agreed new policy guidance which identifies the next steps, outcomes and priority actions to further improve the ethos and culture, and relationships and behaviour in Scottish schools. See: Developing a positive whole school ethos and culture: relationships, learning and behaviour for more details.

School attendance and reduction of absence and exclusions

We publish a series of guidance on school attendance.

Included, engaged and involved part 1: attendance in schools provides guidance on promoting good attendance and managing absenteeism, as well as information on how attendance and absence should be recorded.

Included, engaged and involved part 2: managing school exclusions, published in June 2017, was revised to place more focus on other options that can be used instead of exclusion, based on the view that exclusion from school should only be used as a last resort and as an appropriate response where there is no alternative. This refreshed guidance provides the opportunity for schools to focus on alternative options to exclusion.

School attendance: a guide for parents details parental responsibility and support available when attendance is a problem.

Anti-bullying

Our anti-bullying guidance Respect for All: The National Approach to Anti-bullying for Scotland's Children and Young People is for everyone working with children and young people and provides a holistic approach to anti-bullying.

We set up the Recording and Monitoring Incidents of Bullying in Schools working group (RAMBIS), chaired by Ian Rivers, to develop a consistent and uniform approach to handling bullying and develop quality indicators to measure the effectiveness of the approach.

LGBTI inclusive education

A working group was established in 2017 to examine how the education experience for LGBTI young people can be improved.

Chaired by the Association of Directors of Education (ADES), it includes education leaders, equalities experts and young people, as well as representatives of the Time for Inclusive Education (TIE) campaign. Find out more: LGBTI inclusive education working group

Personal and social education

As part of a 10 year mental health strategy, Scottish Ministers have committed to undertaking a review of personal social education (PSE). This review will include consideration of pastoral care and guidance as well as school counselling. The review is underway with a view to it being completed by the end of 2018. Find out more: Personal social education review

Relationships, sexual health and parenthood

Guidance for teachers on the Conduct of relationships, sexual health and parenthood education in schools clearly states how important it is that this education addresses diversity and reflects issues relating to LGBTI young people or children with LGBTI parents, such as same sex marriage and hate-crime reporting.

Mobile phones

Safe and responsible use of mobile technology in schools: guidance provides advice for schools and local authorities on how to develop policies relating to mobile phones in school.

Physical education and activity and sport

We are committed to schools delivering at least two hours of PE for all pupils in primary school, and at least two periods of PE for all pupils between Secondary 1 and Secondary 4. 98% of all Scottish schools are currently meeting this target.

We also support initiatives like Active Schools and the Daily Mile.

Food and health

As part of health promotion, schools are required to provide food which meets strict nutritional standards, given the major benefits these have for pupils' current and future health. The standards call for a variety of dishes available so pupils learn about making healthy choices about what they eat.

We are currently consulting on making school food healthier, following recommendations by an independent group. The consultation closes on 29 August 2018.

Substance misuse

Children and young people will learn about a variety of substances including alcohol, medicines, drugs, tobacco and solvents as part of Curriculum for Excellence. They will explore the impact risk taking behaviour has on life choices and health. To support this we provide funding to the Choices for Life programme in partnership with the justice and health departments.

To ensure we have an understanding of young people's substance misuse we also support the Scottish Schools Adolescent Lifestyle and Substance Use Survey (SALSUS).

Financial support for learning

Free school meals

We have been making free school meals available to all pupils in the first three years of primary school at all publicly funded schools in Scotland since January 2015. Find out more: free school meals

School clothing grants

School clothing grants are paid directly by local authorities to low income families to help with the cost of buying a school uniform. Find out more: school clothing grants on the mygov.scot site

Education Maintenance Allowances (EMAs)

Educational Maintenance Allowances (EMAs) provide financial support to young people from low income families to stay on in post-16 education, either in school or on a college course. Find out more: EMAs