The recent city council education and families committee meeting considered a report on the issue of bullying in our schools. It highlighted a survey of primary and secondary school pupils in 2016/17, which found 75 per cent of those at secondary agreed that “I feel safe in school”, but 10 per cent disagreed, while the figures for primary school students were 88 and 12 per cent respectively.
Schools are required to collate all incidences of bullying and discrimination and submit this annually to the council, which then forms a city-wide picture that should help to form policy.
The report acknowledged that “these figures may not be representative of the true picture as many children and young people may feel unable or unsupported to discuss bullying using the means currently available”. But what is not in dispute is that it is still taking place on a disconcerting scale and it shows no sign of diminishing with the latest figures for secondary schools at their highest level in the last six years.
READ MORE: Schools ‘must do more to tackle racist bullies’ The city council has an anti-bullying policy in place and a working group has been formed, comprising of members from schools, life-long learning, the Third Sector and young people, and this will review national guidance in relation to the current council anti-bullying policy and I wish it every success.
Bullying in our schools must be eradicated, victims suffer in immeasurable ways, young lives are ruined and sometimes tragic consequences unfold. We all have a duty to uphold zero tolerance of bullying in our schools where all our young people should feel safe in an environment which is conducive to learning and not one that fosters fear and trepidation.