Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Questions (82)

Sandra McLellan

Question:

82 Deputy Sandra McLellan asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans to implement an all-Ireland anti-bullying strategy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32675/12]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Education and Skills)

As the Deputy is aware, the Anti-Bullying Forum, which was held on Thursday 17th May, brought together a range of experts, support groups and representatives of the schools sector including parents and students.

I was very pleased to open this important Forum and to provide an opportunity to explore with all the relevant stakeholders how best to tackle bullying in schools and to consider what changes or updating of existing practices and procedures are required to achieve this having regard to what is feasible to implement in the current financial climate.

The range of speakers on the day of the Forum included contributions from my Department, Professor Mona O'Moore of the Anti-Bullying Centre, Trinity College, representatives of the National Anti-Bullying Coalition (NABC), and contributors from the school sector from the various perspectives of school principal, parent and pupil. The Forum also gave other stakeholders an opportunity to give their views.

The proceedings of the Forum were broadcast live over the internet and recordings of the day's events can be now viewed by accessing the Anti-Bullying Forum webpage of my Department's website www.education.ie. The presentations of the various speakers can also be viewed and downloaded from this page.

As a follow on to holding the Forum itself, I invited the stakeholders and any other interested parties, including those unable to attend the event on the day, to submit their views on this important topic to my Department by 29th June 2012.

I have also established a working group on tackling bullying in schools, including homophobic bullying, cyber bullying and racist bullying. The outcomes from the Forum together with the submissions from the stakeholders and other interested parties will assist the working group in its deliberations. This working group includes representatives of the Department of Education and Skills and the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, and will draw upon the expertise of a range of organisations throughout their work.