Posted by SchoolDays Newshound on 30/01/2013. Tags: Education And Politics Teachers News Parenting
The new Action Plan on Bullying was launched yesterday by the Minister for Education and Skills, Ruairí Quinn T.D. and the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Frances Fitzgerald T.D. The Plan
sets out twelve actions to help prevent and tackle bullying
in primary and second level schools. The report makes it clear that preventing and tackling bullying requires support from parents and wider society and is not a problem schools can solve alone.
At the launch of the Action Plan in Dublin, Minister Quinn said he broadly accepted the proposed actions in the report and has requested his officials to ensure that work on implementation begins immediately in consultation with teachers, parents and management bodies at first and second-level. He has ring-fenced €500,000 to support the implementation of the Action Plan on Bullying in 2013.
Among the twelve actions recommended by the working group are proposals to:
*Support a media campaign focused on cyber bullying specifically targeted at young people as part of Safer Internet Day 2013;
*Establish a new national anti-bullying website;
*Begin development immediately of new national anti-bullying procedures for all schools. These will include an anti-bullying policy template and a template for recording incidents of bullying in schools. These should be in place by the start of the next school year;
*Devise a co-ordinated plan of training for parents and for school boards of management;
*Provide Department of Education and Skills support for the Stand Up! Awareness Week Against Homophobic Bullying organised by BeLonG To Youth Services;
*Review current Teacher Education Support Service provision to identify what training and Continuous Professional Development teachers may need to help them effectively tackle bullying;
As well as implementing the Action Plan, Minister Quinn announced that the Department of Education & Skills will be supporting a revision of the Stay Safe Programme for primary schools. The revised programme will address new forms of risk, including cyber bullying, and incorporate new research and best practice in the area of safeguarding children as well as changes and developments in the educational context in terms of policies, provision and curriculum.
At the launch of the Action Plan, Minister Quinn said, “Bullying
can have a devastating effect on our children and young people that can sometimes end in tragedy. That is why this Action Plan is so important. I broadly accept the proposed actions and now want to see implementation begin immediately, alongside other related initiatives, including the new Well-Being in Post-Primary Schools: Guidelines for Mental Health Promotion and Suicide Prevention (2013) which I will launch later this week.”
The full Action Plan on Bullying can be downloaded here
Response of INTO to launch of 'Plan on Bullying'
The INTO today welcomed the publication of the Department of Education and Skills action plan on bullying.
The report specifically states that a lot is already being done to prevent and tackle bullying in Irish schools. It cites evidence from the National Parents Council (Primary) survey (2012) on bullying which found that a great deal of good practice exists in primary schools.
In particular, the INTO welcomed the explicit statements in the report that bullying is not a problem schools can solve alone and that bullying is a complex social issue and can take place anywhere children and young people are together.
Sheila Nunan, general secretary of the INTO, said not all bullying happens in schools but most people look to schools to resolve it. She said primary schools have shown they can be part of the solution. This report sets out the need for others, particularly policy makers and parents, to be actively involved in tackling the problem. Recommendations in the report, if implemented and resourced, could improve the situation.
Ms Nunan said bullying is taken seriously in schools. Every year thousands of hours are spent investigating allegations, monitoring situations, following up on cases and meeting with parents and pupils, she said. Teachers are committed to tackling bullying.
Most parents who have had to deal with this issue are well aware of the excellent work done by schools and the lengths to which teachers go to deal with bullying, said Ms Nunan.
But she said there is sometimes little recognition that schools have limited resources or that tackling bullying is largely dependent on the co-operation of all parents in the school. Irish classes are the second largest in the EU which makes it very difficult to spot bullying which is secretive by nature, she said.
On occasions, a parent of a victim may want the bully punished, sometimes severely and summarily and often before the facts of the case can be established. Others will insist the school deal with bullying that happens outside of school. In some cases the parents of a bully or alleged bully will not accept that their child could be involved in bullying behaviour, said Ms Nunan.
Teachers, although caught between these conflicting demands, have to treat all children and parents fairly.
Schools are continually revising and improving anti-bullying policies. They are dealing with new forms of bullying and lessons learned from dealing with cases. Bullying and dealing with it features on many staff meetings. It is past time that departmental policy caught up with practice in schools.
Response of ISSU to launch of 'Plan on Bullying'
The Irish Second-Level Students Union (ISSU) welcomes the Governments Action Plan on Bullying, which was launched in the Department of Education today.
The ISSU has been strongly involved in developing this plan, with Equality Officer Mark Caffrey sitting on the Anti-Bullying Working Group which helped to develop it, and he is looking forward to its full implementation.
ISSU Equality Officer, Mark Caffrey said; Bullying is something which we know affects our students hugely around one quarter of students are likely to have experienced some form of bullying in the past couple of months, and Im delighted that an action plan to tackle this head on has been launched today. Bullying is a serious problem, so it needs to be taken seriously.
Schools need to be given the necessary supports in order to manage and prevent bullying in all forms, and we need to make sure that parents are aware of the role they can plan in both preventing bullying, and intervening in an appropriate way where it is occurring. Tackling homophobic bullying and cyber bullying are key focuses of this action plan, and we look forward to working with other partners to see it implemented.
Response of ASTI to launch of 'Plan on Bullying'
The ASTI today welcomed the launch of the Action Plan on Bullying by Minister for Education and Skills Ruair Quinn and Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Frances Fitzgerald.
The report published today recognises the valuable role that schools play in fostering childrens and young peoples self-esteem, confidence and resilience. It acknowledges the work that schools do in addressing bullying and in promoting learning environments which are inclusive and respectful to all. Actions which support schools in this work are welcome, said ASTI General Secretary Pat King.
However, this report is being launched in the context of severe education cutbacks which are having a devastating impact on school communities all over the country. Cuts such as the moratorium on Year Head and other in-school middle management posts and the withdrawal of ex-quota guidance counselling provision are impacting directly on a schools ability to provide a supportive environment for vulnerable young people.
While all teachers play a role in monitoring the wellbeing of young people in their classrooms, this is an increasingly difficult task given that classes are larger and many families are currently under stress. Typically it is teacher year heads who work to identify pupils at risk, act as a contact person between the school and the family, access specialist and support services if necessary, and implement the schools code of behaviour. In many schools, these posts have been virtually wiped out.
Schools are also cutting back on guidance services as a result of Budget cuts. In a survey carried out last year, the ASTI found that seven out of 10 schools were being forced to reduce guidance provision by an average of 7.8 hours per week.