29 Jun 2007

THE Education Minister’s commitment to tackle bullying in schools can help end this scourge through concerted effort, the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People, Patricia Lewsley said today.

Ms Lewsley welcomed Minister for Education Caitriona Ruane’s recent comments on bullying following the publication of research showing 43% of primary school children and 29% of post-primary perceive they have been bullied at least once.

However, the Commissioner said materials are already available to address how bullying and its affects can be reduced.

“While I welcome the minister’s renewed commitment, and funding for a helpline, more can be done,” she said.

“There are already anti-bullying programmes available, including a guidance pack produced by my office.

“This and other tools are being used to great effect in some schools, but not in every school.”

The Commissioner urged the minister to make sure that children and young people have a say in creating anti-bullying policies.

“I know that the Minister wants a consistent approach across Northern Ireland,” said Ms Lewsley, “but I believe that with the right selection of support schools can choose what is best for their situation rather than forcing a prescriptive answer to the problem.”

Notes for Editors:

Click on the links below to download the files to make up the anti-bullying guidance packs.