15/07/2004

National anti-bully network in place for new school year

Anti-bullying experts will be based in every region of the country to help deal with school bullies, under plans announced today.

Schools, local education authorities and parents will have access to practical help, advice and support in tackling all forms of bullying in schools through the new national Anti-Bullying Alliance (ABA).

The ABA brings together over 50 expert organisations to act as a national agency. The Alliance will receive £570,000 funding in its first year and will start work in September.

It will work with schools and local education authorities to promote anti-bullying best practice. The ABA will explore ways to deal with text message, email and Internet chatroom bullies.

The Alliance will also: run an annual national anti-bullying week to spread the message that all forms of bullying are wrong; develop and oversee anti-bullying resources and information for schools and parents; and provide support for parents in severe cases of bullying, including mediation.

Speaking today at a national anti-bullying event in London, Education Minister Ivan Lewis said: "Bullying is not a 'part of growing up.' Bullying is not 'character building.' Bullying is physical or emotional assault, and can lead to the most tragic consequences.

"The Alliance's national lead on anti-bullying and the regionally based experts that will support schools, parents and local education authorities will be a crucial part of our action to show no tolerance to bullying," he said.

The programme will build on the 'Make The Difference' campaign in which around 5,000 head teachers, teachers, pupils and anti-bullying experts have already participated.

(gmcg)

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