Calls by a senior Scottish education official to place persistent
school bullies in foster care have met with a mixed reaction.
The Rev Ewan Aitken, education spokesman for Edinburgh Council and
the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities, told a conference
this week that fostering could be used as a last resort where
bullies did not change their behaviour and parents refused to
He said that in some cases the negative influence of a person’s
family needed to be interrupted and counselling offered before they
“It is drastic but so are the effects of persistent bullying which
can’t be stopped because it is supported at home. The consequences
for the victims of bullying are pretty drastic as well.”
Bryan Ritchie, director of Fostering Network Scotland, was cautious
about the idea. He said: “The positive role provided by the foster
family could prove beneficial, but would need to be carefully
But director of children and family services at charity Children
First, Maggie Mellon, disagreed. “Supporting schools and parents in
tackling bullying is what will achieve results,” she said.
Scotland’s education minister Peter Peacock said he was not
considering the compulsory model proposed by Aitken.