Community work will help bullying

13th October 2006 at 01:00
There is little gratitude in public life - especially when it comes to the awarding of contracts. Andrew Mellor, who almost single-handedly pioneered awareness of bullying in schools and carried out the first serious research on the topic, must be feeling more than a little wistful this week, having seen his baby fostered out to new parents (page 3). Yet it is right that, if the Scottish Executive now believes anti-bullying and ethos policies and strategies are firmly embedded in the work of schools, Mr Mellor's contribution to that happy state of affairs is publicly recorded.

But is the executive correct in its assumption? Too often, we read of schools brushing aside parental claims of their children being bullied and not being seen to take them seriously. This suggests that schools still need a focal point to keep up the momentum. The extension of anti-bullying work into the community, and the symbolic emphasis on mental well-being and homophobia, should help schools by reinforcing what they do on a broader front. If they benefit from that approach, good and well. But the renewed service should not jump too readily to that conclusion.

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