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The ESAS pilot schools

Six Scottish schools participated in the ESAS pilot between 2017-2021. Their experiences of piloting ESAS has been fundamental in informing and shaping the programme into what it is today.

In this section, you can find out about their ESAS journeys through pilot school case studies, senior lead testimonies and student perspectives.

School leads

“As a denominational school whose core values are about respect, tolerance and dignity, the ESAS intervention made a lot of sense because there were so many links with our school’s values and ethos. We also recognised how the intervention fitted well under the broader umbrella of rights and increasing pupil voice, which are incredibly important in our school.

“There were also clear links between ESAS and improving attainment. ESAS increased pupil voice and therefore confidence and participation, encouraging pupils to think outside the norm. This translated into how young people thought of the careers available to them. ESAS generated a buzz in the school which motivated staff and pupils to keep going with the work.”

– Lorna Lawson, ESAS School Lead and Headteacher at St John Ogilvie High School


“As the school Child Protection Officer I was privy to a lot of information that gave me an insight into the extent of the problem of gender based violence. I could see first hand the impact of the problem on children and families. The idea of a whole school approach to help educate the whole school community was really appealing and differentiated ESAS from the many initiatives that schools are approached with. It was something that we saw as the most valuable for the community.

“What I really liked about the ESAS approach was that it involved the whole school and was really comprehensive. We had school assemblies which gave the opportunity for any pupil in the school to be involved in leading the intervention by joining the Action Group, which is quite rare. That unique selection process that was open to anyone really paid off because we ended up with so much enthusiasm and commitment from the pupils who signed up.”

– Andrew Boyle, ESAS School Lead and Depute Head Teacher at St Joseph’s Academy

Young people

  • “I joined the ESAS Action Group because I’d always wanted to join something that was beneficial not just to me, but to my community.”
  • “I enjoy talking to people from different year groups and learning about their opinions. It helps provide a better understanding of how people feel across all year groups.”
  • “I love being part of the Action Group because we are doing so many good things and making lives better.”
  • “I think other schools should have an action group because sometimes teachers and staff don't know or can't come up with appealing or fun ideas/activities that promote respectful and appropriate behaviour. Getting the pupil's thoughts is and should always be a major factor when thinking about ideas regarding the school.”
  • “I think the Action Group is wonderful and enjoyable. The thought put into the group is clearly visible which makes it comforting to be a part of.”
  • “All schools should definitely do ESAS, you have no idea how much it can benefit a person.”
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