Wednesday, 18 January 2017
Department of Education and Skills
Bullying in Schools
115. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the extent to which ongoing efforts continue to be made to combat school bullying within school premises; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2209/17]
The Action Plan on Bullying, which was published in January 2013, sets out my Department's approach to tackling bullying and promoting an anti-bullying culture in schools. It recommended actions that focus on support for schools, teacher training, research and awareness raising and aim to ensure that all forms of bullying are addressed. Implementation of the actions is ongoing and good progress has been made across all areas of the plan.
As part of the implementation of the Action Plan my Department published new anti-bullying procedures for all primary and post primary schools at the beginning of the 2013/14 school year.
The procedures are designed to give direction and guidance to school authorities and school personnel in preventing and tackling school-based bullying behaviour amongst its pupils. They include specific requirements in relation to the use of prevention and education strategies and the consistent investigation, follow up and recording of bullying behaviour.
The procedures for schools include important oversight arrangements that involve the school principal reporting regularly to the Board of Management and a requirement for the Board to undertake an annual review of the school's anti-bullying policy and its implementation. Confirmation that the annual review has been completed must be provided to the Parents' Association and published on the school website.
In addition, my Department's Inspectorate, as part of its inspection work, places a stronger focus on the actions schools take to create a positive school culture and to prevent and tackle bullying.
Other actions being taken as part of the implementation of the Action Plan include support for anti-bullying awareness raising initiatives and the development and roll out of anti-bullying training materials for parents, teachers and Boards of Management. In addition, a new national anti-bullying website, www.tacklebuyying.ie, was launched in November 2015 as a single point of information and support for young people, parents and teachers affected by bullying.
As outlined in the "Action Plan for Education 2016-2019”, my Department is committed to continuing implementation of the Anti-Bullying Action Plan through continued support for the development of anti-bullying training materials and awareness-raising initiatives.