Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Questions (635)

Anne Rabbitte

Question:

635. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Education and Skills if ongoing training or CPD training is offered to teachers on online bullying, harassment or illegal behaviour among children and appropriate responses to this behaviour within a school setting; and if so, the details of training provided. [34491/19]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The Action Plan on Bullying sets out my Department's approach to tackling bullying in schools. The actions focus on support for schools, teacher training, research and awareness raising and aim to ensure that all forms of bullying, including cyberbullying, are addressed.

My Department, though its teacher support services, provides extensive training, supports and resources to schools to assist with the development of policies and practices on the safe and ethical use of the internet.

The Professional Development Service for Teachers (PDST) offers professional learning opportunities to teachers and school leaders in a range of pedagogical, curricular and educational areas. This includes supports on the prevention of bullying and harassment using the internet. The PDST is funded by my Department and operates under its remit. It is managed by the Dublin West Education Centre.  

The PDST has a dedicated Health and Wellbeing team comprising 22 full time personnel. This team supports teachers and schools, through the Social Personal Health Education (SPHE) curriculum to develop and promote the personal development, health and well-being of the student; to create a positive school environment and culture; and to prevent and tackle bullying including online bullying and harassment. 

The support provided to schools and teachers includes seminars, workshops, face-to-face courses and in-school support. Support material can be located at:

https://pdst.ie/sites/default/files/Anti-Bullying%20prevention%20and%20intervention%20strategies_support%20materials%20-%20Primary%20Final_0.pdf.

Webwise.ie is a key educational resource for schools. managed by the PDST, that promotes the autonomous, effective and safer use of the internet by young people through a sustained information and awareness strategy targeting school leaders, teachers, parents and children themselves with consistent and relevant messages. The Webwise team work closely with the Health and Wellbeing team in the development of SPHE and other curriculum resources. Resources available from Webwise include a Teachers Hub; A Parents Hub; and a Youth Hub.  Statistical information from Webwise advise that in 2018 there were some 904,249 users of Webwise with 1,395,700 page views. More information and resources from Webwise can be viewed at https//www.webwise.ie  

The national Anti-Bullying website, www.tacklebullying.ie provides a single point of information and support for young people, parents and teachers affected by bullying.

A website designed to be a single point of contact for all relevant online safety resources with links to a range of websites and online resources, was launched as part of the Action Plan for Online Safety and is available on www.gov.ie/besafeonline.

Question No. 636 answered with Question No. 335.