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50 ways to tackle bullies

An anti-bullying pack containing 50 ideas to tackle the problem is to be sent to schools next month.

Simon Blake, from the Anti-Bullying Alliance, said the ideas include peer support schemes, pinpointing hotspots and encouraging children to re-write school anti-bullying policies.

The government-backed alliance, an umbrella organisation for more than 50 voluntary, professional and private organisations, was launched last summer. The Government said that it heralded a new "zero-tolerance" approach and schools were encouraged to sign anti-bullying charters.

All schools will be provided with a resource pack for anti-bullying week in November.

Mr Blake said: "It is a whole range of ideas put into one coherent document for schools. That is the beauty of having the alliance, which can come together, share ideas and present them as a 'gateway' for schools on anti-bullying."

He admitted that there have been teething problems. He is having to rewrite the alliance's mission statement because it had created confusion by stating punishment, including exclusion, should only be used in very serious cases and only then as a "last resort".

He said: "It is ambiguous and misleading. Exclusion and punishment have become wrapped up with one another when they should not be. There should be the full range of sanctions available: detention and so on."

Earlier this month the children's charity ChildLine said that the Government's campaign to tackle bullying was failing, as it revealed a rise in calls to its helpline.

But Mr Blake said: "What the research is suggesting is that the reporting of bullying is increasing. We know that if you raise awareness about a problem it appears to get worse before it gets better."

He said it was the alliance's job to spread good practice and encourage debate rather than enforce anti-bullying policies.

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