Council reinforces commitment to tackle bullying behaviour in Highland schools
14th November 2014
The Highland Council is to enhance its policy on anti-bullying in schools after members of the Education, Children and Adult Services Committee (12 November 2014) agreed to introduce a new ‘Positive Relationships and Bullying Prevention Policy, Guidance and Toolkit' to all Highland schools.
Chairman of the Council's Education, Children and Adult Services Committee Councillor Alasdair Christie said: "I commend this new policy and review on how we will address bullying behaviour in our schools. Combined with the introduction of the policy we have a huge awareness raising exercise that we need to undertake to ensure that people feel happy and confident to come forward and report any bullying behaviours experienced."
Councillor Linda Munro. Highland Council’s Children’s Champion added: "I also welcome this new and much needed policy and I look forward to its implementation. We need to look at how bullying behaviour is being dealt with in our schools and how we report back to parents of those affected."
The new policy was extensively consulted with teachers, parents, and pupils, the Highland Youth Parliament, LGBT Youth Scotland, Stonewall Scotland and Respectme.
The policy, which will be reviewed on a 3-yearly basis, adopts the national definition that bullying can be understood as behaviour which leaves people feeling helpless, frightened, anxious, depressed or humiliated.
The focus of the policy will be on the prevention of bullying behaviours, exploring whole school approaches to reducing incidents of bullying behaviours, while streamlining procedures for dealing with incidents of bullying behaviours.
Linking in with the Council’s Equalities Agenda - the new policy will also address bullying behaviours based on prejudices which can also cause short and long term effects on pupils.
Members have also agreed that the Council will sign up to participate in the Stonewall Education Champions Programme which specifically provides support and guidance to local authorities in tackling homophobia and homophobic bullying in schools.
Daniel Aldridge, Policy Manager of Stonewall Scotland said: “Stonewall Scotland is delighted that The Highland Council have signed up to our Education Champions Programme and have made a proactive commitment to tackling homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying within their schools. In Scotland, our education authorities and our teachers are the most powerful tools we have in the fight to tackle all forms of bullying and we look forward to working closely with the Council over the coming months and years to build on these commitments.”
A progress report on the new anti-bullying measures will be presented to the Education, Children and Adult Services Committee in November 2015.