The Programme for Government reinforces our commitment to improve the learning experience and success of learners and specifically commits to updating the National Anti-Bullying Plan to include gender identity bullying. The Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth committed in Better Outcomes Brighter Futures to “Develop a National Framework for Anti-Bullying, taking a community-wide approach to tackling bullying from childhood through to adulthood”.
As the Deputy is aware, I attended the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Education, Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science recently to provide an update on a number of issues including the measures that are being taken to prevent and tackle bullying in schools.
During my appearance at the Joint Committee, I announced that my Department will commence a review of my Department’s 2013 Action Plan on Bullying and the 2013 Anti-bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-primary Schools.
This review will take account of developments and relevant research since the action plan and procedures were published in 2013 and will specifically consider areas such as cyber bullying and gender identity bullying.
This work will involve significant consultation and collaboration across my Department, with other Government Departments and Bodies including the Ombudsman for Children, and will also involve consultation with a broad range of education stakeholders, including parents and students.
I also announced that during this school year, my Department’s Inspectorate is prioritising monitoring and gathering information about the implementation of anti-bullying measures in schools across all its inspection types.
As part of this work, the Inspectorate will also identify and report on examples of effective practice in relation to preventing and tacking bullying in schools. This will help provide evidence of the type of bullying that is occurring in our schools and examples of approaches that can be successful in dealing with it. An important part of the Inspectorate’s work will be a focus on the priority actions of schools in relation to promoting a positive school culture and climate.