New bid to see off bullies

Helen Liddell, the Education Minister, has launched a national initiative to counter schools' lack of consistency in fighting bullying.

Mrs Liddell has invited institutions, groups and individuals to submit plans to run a support service for teachers, pupils and parents. The project is due to start early next year and will produce materials, offer in-school training and provide a consultancy for individual schools.

The network will stress good practice and effective strategies and ensure bullying is dealt with "swiftly and effectively" wherever it arises,Mrs Liddell said.

"Bullying is a serious matter which causes a great deal of distress to both pupils and families," she said. "A review of education authority anti-bullying policies conducted by the Scottish Office last year revealed that while there are some excellent strategies in place to tackle bullying,there is a lack of consistency in approaches taken across Scotland."

Last June, the Scottish Office gave the Childline Bullying Helpline Pounds 34,000 to continue its work of providing a sympathetic ear for children's problems.

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