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PE01583: Primary School Playground Supervision


Petitioner: Lisa Willis


Date Lodged: 21 October 2015

Calling on the Scottish Parliament to urge the Scottish Government to review and amend national legislation and guidance given to local authorities to ensure that all primary schools are required to provide playground supervision in the twenty-minute period before school starts. 

Petition History:


15 December 2015: The Committee took evidence from Lisa Willis and Wendy Palmer. The Committee agreed to write to the Scottish Government, COSLA, the Health and Safety Executive in Scotland, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents in Scotland, the Association of Directors of Education in Scotland, the Educational Institute of Scotland, the GMB union and Unison Scotland. Link to Official Report 15 December 2015

23 February 2016: The Committee agreed to close the petition, under Rule 15.7, on the basis that there is a lack of support for mandatory time period for supervision before school and existing supervision requirements are specified in legislation, which the Scottish Government is not minded to amend in the way called for by the petition. Link to Official Report 23 February 2016  

Written Submissions:

Legislation requires that local authorities supervise primary school pupils in the playground at break and lunch times, but there is currently no duty to provide formal supervision in the period before school starts when children, some as young as 4 years old, arrive on school transport and are left to their own devices at risk of injury, bullying, wandering off or worse.  Because of transport pick-up timetables, children can be left for a period of up to twenty minutes without supervision.

Parents entrust their children into the care of local authorities when they travel on school buses and they are entitled to know that their children will be adequately cared for both on board and on arrival. The provision for safety of pupils ought to be equally important before, during and after school from the minute the child climbs on board the bus, to the minute they are delivered back home.

Some local authorities say they are adequately fulfilling their duty of care to the safety of children by providing a member of staff ‘point of contact’ inside  the building. Some say they cannot afford to pay staff for this extra 20 minutes...

  • Would you leave your 4 year old alone at the park?
  • Are the risks any less before school than at break and lunch time, when local authorities are currently required to provide supervision *?
  • Do you feel local authorities are adequately fulfilling their duty of care toward the safety and wellbeing of young children in not providing supervision in the playground at this time of day?
  • How many accidents, injuries or tragedies must there be for this risk to be recognised by the Government and the relevant legislation and policies changed? 
  • What price should be placed on the safety of young children?
  • Do you think it's right that a loophole currently exists in policy, that enables schools to avoid this responsibility by having a member of staff ‘point of contact’ on duty inside the building only? 
  • How can local authorities be complying with Health & Safety guidelines if risk assessments do not deem supervision of young children arriving on school transport to be necessary? 

Please sign this petition. Apathy could cost more lives ...

* At a primary school at which 50 or more pupils are in attendance (The Schools (Safety and Supervision of Pupils) (Scotland) Regulations 1990.

Yep I totally agree.

Maureen Brodie

19:12 on 21 Oct 2015


Joanne Meneceur

1:03 on 14 Oct 2015

At our school-Children are the responsibility of the parent until the bell goes and children should not be dropped of early unless a parent stays. However I do agree with supervision of children who get the school bus-maybe school bus times should be altered. Who is going to pay for supervision before school starts?

Joanna Stebbings

9:44 on 11 Oct 2015

Primary 1 children up 90 children are left with one PSA to supervise them for around 1 hour each day. Where else could this happen i adult to 90 children ratio and how do their parents feel about this. In large open spaces too. We need to get his sorted as this is so unsafe and so unfair on the single adult trying to look after them.

Anne Wilson

17:40 on 07 Oct 2015

We have this facility already in West Lothian and can't quite imagine dropping a young child off at the school gate with no adult supervision. Assumed that this was normal... Cannot believe it is not in this day and age!

Paulene Grant

13:52 on 07 Oct 2015

There is also breakfast clubs so yes in my opinion there should be school attendants supervising 20 minutes before school

Nicola dalgarno

18:18 on 04 Oct 2015

This should absolutely be the case - there could be 4 year olds getting off school transport with no supervision. We should be waiting for something terrible to happen before this is changed. I would be in serious trouble if I left my 4 year old unsupervised so that absolutely shouldn't be the case where they are dropped at school - to save a few pounds!

Abigail Wilson

8:15 on 03 Oct 2015

I thought every school has a duty of care from the time the first bell goes until the home bell. Who else would be responsible for the children at this time?

elizabeth oates

19:36 on 29 Sep 2015

My 4 year old and 8 year olds are dropped off school transport at 8.40 in the morning, it is an absolute disgrace to think they will not be supervised. My children are never left alone at any other time why does authorities think it is right to be unsupervised when our children are under there care at school where it's supposed to be a safe environment! What tragedy needs to happen before someone listens to us!

Zandra Stuart

16:47 on 29 Sep 2015

Over the past year, while dropping my own daughter off at school I have 1. Aided injury, 2. Stopped a 4yr old wandering off school premises, 3. Stopped a child running into the road to retrieve dropped money and 4. Broken up some bullying. This is the reason I wont allow my daughter to be unsupervised in the playground prior to school. I strongly believe that schools should be given resources to provide an appropriate level of supervision for those children who's parents devolve responsibility for their safe arrival at school.

Wendy Palmer

21:01 on 28 Sep 2015

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