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Government to step-up focus on bullying issue

16 March 2006

Government to step-up focus on bullying issue

A Ministry of Education report on the nature and extent of bullying in schools, including through text messaging, was released today by Education Minister Steve Maharey.

"This report reflects the seriousness of this issue for New Zealand schools and communities," Steve Maharey said. "It is also a reminder that there is strong awareness of the issue and a lot of effort going into dealing with it."

Steve Maharey says establishing clear boundaries for behaviour in schools will be a key priority over the next three years.

"I want to ensure there are consistent policies across all schools, that teachers are well supported, and that parents and the community recognise the role they need to play in addressing this issue.

"I also want to send a clear message that bullying in any form is not acceptable and will not be tolerated in our schools or communities.

"Schools can expect to get more help and to see a greater focus on the role played by the Ministry of Education and the Education Review Office in dealing with this issue.

"From next month the Education Review Office will be reporting in each school review on the school's anti-bullying strategies. I will also be looking at options through this year's budget to strengthen the work we are doing and improve coordination across the various programmes.

"Experience tells us that what works best is consistent guidelines about appropriate behaviour, reinforced through the school. We also know that schools can't do it alone. Parents and communities also have a responsibility.

"There are many examples of New Zealand schools that have turned behaviour problems around. We need to ensure there are good policies and programmes across every school and that these are reinforced both in the classroom and the community."

ENDS

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