3 Oct 2005

Young people undertake peer research for NICCY 

MEMBERS of the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People’s Youth Panel are helping in ground-breaking research into bullying- and school transport.

Working with experienced researchers the young people are being trained in peer research – which means they will be undertaking interviews and research with children and young people around their own age.

Teresa Devlin, Head of Research and Service Review at NICCY, said young people were a vital component in the research.

“Our work on school transport, safer travel to school and bullying comes directly from our report on children’s rights and what young people told us during our consultation on our priorities,” she said.

“It is therefore important that we involve young people in deciding how we select those carrying out the research as well as being the ones that lead that research.

Ken Smyth, Participation Manager at NICCY said:

“It has always been NICCY’s goal to make sure that young people can help challenge and change the world they live in,” he said. “Participation means that they really should be to the fore when we take forward projects such as this research.”

Ellie Lavan of NICCY’s Youth Panel has been involved in the training and is about to undertake the research.

“It’s good to develop a scheme where young people can question and work with other young people and be part of something that will improve young people’s lives,” she said.

Young people raised the issue of safe school transport and road safety directly – as well as bullying on school transport - to the Commissioner, and the research aims to find out what children young people and their parents believe would make the journey to school safer. The research will be shared with the relevant agencies once completed.

Ms Devlin said the research was strengthened by the fact that young people were involved, as well as the partnership approach that is bringing together the commissioner’s office with the Department of Regional Development and the statutory patient’s representatives, the General Consumer Council.

NICCY’s office has received several complaints about bullying since the office opened, as well as hearing from young people during consultations. The bullying project is a separate piece of research

It aims to identify good practice in schools and examine how this can be built upon, as well as make sure that schools undertake the policies on bullying that they are required to do under legislation. Once completed a Best Practice Guide will be prepared and shared with schools education and library boards as well as the Department of Education.

Notes for Editors

The research comes some four years after the Assembly Environment Committee's report on school transport 'Report on the Inquiry into Transport used for Children Travelling to and from School ' which highlighted issues including safety, the use of the '3 for 2' rule, use of seatbelts and bullying as key issues that needed to be addressed.

Further information on the work of the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People can be found at www.niccy.org