I am very aware of the issue of bullying in schools. My Department has moved to tackle the issue on a number of fronts. The education of students in both primary and post-primary schools in relation to anti-bullying behaviour is a central part of the social, personal and health education curriculum.
At present the SPHE programme is part of the curriculum in every primary school. By September 2003 it will be a mandatory component of the junior cycle in all second level schools. The content of the programme reflects current best practice in the area of educating children in relation to bullying.
As part of school development planning schools are advised to have stated policies and to develop plans on discipline, health and safety and countering bullying behaviour. Parental involvement in the planning process is encouraged. Through their representation on the board of management and through parents' associations parents can readily be consulted in the clarification and development of these policies and plans.