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Anti-bullying resources a good start

Media Release
3 July 2008
Anti-bullying resources a good start

The Ministry of Education’s newly launched anti-bullying strategy is heading down the right track, but more staffing resources will be needed for it to really succeed.

PPTA junior vice president Kate Gainsford says the resources launched today to help make schools a safer place were a step in the right direction, particularly in their focus on de-normalising bullying.

“Evidence shows that being open with students about their right to seek help with bullying is quite a good approach,” Gainsford said.

This was backed up by a Norwegian initiative, the 1998 Loeber and Farrington review that looked at school-based intervention focused on reducing bullying.
It involved resources that described bully/victim problems, suggestions about what teachers could do and an information package distributed to all families in Norway with school-age children.

The results of the project were promising with reported bullying reduced by 50 percent in eight months.

Gainsford said, while the PPTA supported the extra resources, it also recognised the need for extra staffing to help guide students through difficulties.

“In 2000 a government staffing review group showed extra staffing hours and support would be required to provide adequate guidance and pastoral care for students. We are still waiting for that to be implemented.

“It has been known since then that students need greater levels of support and care, but the Ministry does not seem to be prepared to put the staffing in to achieve this,” she said.

Gainsford was also pleased with comments from Children’s Commissioner Cindy Kiro that bullying is a family issue as well.

“All the resources in the world won’t be enough if schools do their part and families do not. These issues have the greatest chance of being resolved if addressed at ages 5 or below.

“Combating bullying will have to be a team effort, focusing on information for students and families and support and resources for teachers,” she said.


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