Council reviews strategy ahead of Anti-Bullying Week
- Categories : Press Release
- 10 Nov 2020
Ahead of this year’s Anti-Bullying Week, Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council has reaffirmed its commitment to seeing a significant reduction in bullying in schools.
This Council recently reviewed its anti-bullying strategy in the light of statutory guidance produced by Welsh Government to challenge bullying.
The strategy has also been written against the backdrop of Covid-19 pandemic recovery plans, including Welsh Government’s aims of ‘embedding a whole-school approach to mental health and emotional wellbeing’.
Since the local authority published its first strategy in 2011/12:
- there has been an increase in the number of reported incidents due to a more robust system being in place
- there has been an increase in the number of incidents reported for physical, gender and cyberbullying
- there was a spike in incidents, including those of a racial nature, in 2017/18 - but since then these have decreased
- the number of racial incidents remains low and has reduced since 2011/12
“Challenging bullying across Merthyr Tydfil remains a key priority for us,” said Cabinet Member for Learning Cllr Lisa Mytton. “Schools are uniquely placed to enable our learners to develop as ethical, healthy, confident and ambitious individuals.
“As elected members, we want our schools to be places where our learners feel happy and safe. We are all committed to ensuring that each child and young person enjoys their rights to an education and are treated equitably.
“We will continue to challenge bullying holistically,” she added. “We understand that this is achieved by addressing the root causes of unacceptable behaviour and by creating an inclusive environment of mutual respect. This can only be achieved if wellbeing is at the heart of all that we do.”
Anti-Bullying Week runs from Monday 16 to Friday 20 November. It is organised by the Anti-Bullying Alliance, a coalition of organisations and individuals, and was established by the NSPCC and the National Children's Bureau in 2002.
A survey carried out by Welsh education inspector Estyn of effective practice in tackling bullying identified that there would be a significant reduction in bullying if all schools and local authorities introduced clear policies and procedures.
The Council’s strategy says that in many schools, how well staff dealt with bullying varied. It was vital that staff had a clear understanding of what constituted a ‘reportable incident’ of bullying and that the school had an agreed definition of bullying that was clearly understood by the school community as a whole.
‘The effects of being bullied can be short or long-term, psychological or social, and often result in underachievement or attendance problems,’ the strategy adds. ‘Certain groups of pupils are at a higher than average risk of being bullied, including:
- pupils with special needs or a disability
- lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender pupils
- pupils from a minority ethnic or religious background
‘Research suggests that between 20-50% of pupils will experience bullying at some time during their time at school. Too many pupils have their lives spoilt by bullying.’
Cllr Mytton added: “This statutory guidance has been produced to provide advice to enable the values of respect, tolerance and kindness to be embedded in our schools and across the wider community. It is only by working together that we can achieve this and truly make a difference.”
View the strategy document on the Council’s website here: https://www.merthyr.gov.uk/resident/learning-in-merthyr-tydfil/well-being-and-behaviour/anti-bullying-policy/