PUPILS should be involved in school policies to tackle bullying, according to research launched today by the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People, Barney McNeany.

30 June 2006 News

As a result of the research the Commissioner will be producing 10 guidelines to support schools in making sure children can be involved in developing and implementing anti-bullying policies.

“Principals, teachers, boards of governors and pupils all know that bullying is a difficult subject to tackle,” said Mr McNeany. “The research we are launching today shows that there is a clear need for children to be involved in enhancing and strengthening anti-bullying policies.”

Carried out on behalf of NICCY by the National Children’s Bureau, the research examined the experiences of pupils in primary, post-primary, secondary schools, and special schools. Young peer researchers led the interviewing of pupils.

“Legislation from three years ago set out that each school should have an anti-bullying policy, and that children and young people from the school should contribute to that policy,” said the Commissioner.

“We recognise that schools need support in doing this, and that is why we will be using this report to produce 10 best practice guidelines to show how pupils can be involved. These will be launched later in the year.”

Mr McNeany said the research showed that while bullying remains a problem for some children and young people, there were many examples of good practice in schools which created an open environment where children and young people were confident in having their say.

“Our hope is that this research, combined with the guidelines we will produce and the effort of many organisations will, over coming years, reduce the instance of bullying and the pain and distress it causes to too many children and young people.”