Anti-bully pack still on the shelf

AN ANTI-BULLYING pack for schools commissioned in 2005 and completed in March 2006 costing nearly pound;180,000 is still waiting for publication by the Scottish Executive.

The Anti-Bullying Network, managed by Andrew Mellor and based at Edinburgh University, lost Scottish Executive funding to provide anti-bullying support last October. The pound;350,000 contract was awarded to a consortium of the Scottish Association for Mental Health and LGBT Youth Scotland.

Since then, Mr Mellor has continued to run the network in his spare time and its website averages 40,000 visitors a month - 51,000 during anti-bullying week in November. The pack contains practical ideas, strategies and a framework for tackling bullying, he said.

More than 30 schools - most of them secondaries - contributed their ideas, good practice and strategies to the pack and the network also held a "critical friends" meeting with teachers from across Scotland, which helped produce the final report. The strategies can be adapted for primaries.

Pamela Munn, Edinburgh University's dean of education, has been pressing the executive for a firm date for publication: "It is a great pity that materials which schools have so willingly supplied are languishing in Victoria Quay rather than freely available."

The new anti-bullying service is due to be launched on March 14.

A spokeswoman for the executive said the resource would be published later this year. She added: "Schools already have access to a wide range of resources and information. There's no question that we're withholding something which could be seen as a solution to all bullying problems.

"We are determined to continue cracking down on bullying and build on what has already been achieved. That's why we re-tendered the anti-bullying contract to extend services and tackle bullying beyond the school gate, by text messages, online and so on."

Meanwhile, a newly-published international review of school anti-bullying initiatives cautions against some attempts to stamp it out which can do more harm than good.

Bullying is a systemic problem p12-13

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