Tuesday, 7 October 2014
Department of Education and Skills
Bullying in Schools
448. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the number of reports of various forms of school bullying reported or identified in 2013; the degree to which any new initiatives have been taken to address this issue; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [37692/14]
There is no requirement on schools to report bullying incidents to my Department.
The School Principal under the anti-bullying procedures for all schools is required to report regularly to the Board of Management on the overall number of bullying cases and provide confirmation that these are being dealt with in accordance with the procedures.
The Board is required to undertake an annual review and publish the schools anti-bullying policy on their website.
Arising from commitments made in the Action Plan on Bullying, my Department's Inspectorate is placing a stronger focus on the actions schools take to create a positive school culture and to prevent and tackle bullying. For example, parent and student questionnaires issued as part of whole school evaluations, include, since January 2014, additional questions to get a clearer picture of how the school deals with bullying. Furthermore, the Inspectorate's plan for the current school year provides for a focussed evaluation to be conducted in a sample of schools to examine the school's work to create and sustain safe and healthy environments.
This work will give a better overview on how well the procedures are being implemented at school level.
This is also an issue that will need to be considered in the context of developing a Parent and Students Charter that each will be obliged to have. An important aspect of the Charter will be how parents receive information and feedback on the operation of school policies and how parents concerns are addressed.