PUPILS ARE to enrol at a virtual school to learn how to tackle bullying through computer role-play.
In a new twist to cyber-bullying, academics will examine whether incidents in schools can be cut by encouraging children to side with cartoon victims in a virtual world.
The EU-funded scheme, called the e-CIRCUS project, is to be tried out with primary pupils in Warwickshire and Hertfordshire from next term, as well as in schools in Germany.
A report this week by the Commons education committee said schools should give bullying a higher profile by including it in citizenship and PSHE from an earlier age. The Department for Education and Skills is also developing an information campaign for young people in a move to tackle cyber-bullying.
The e-CIRCUS was initially tested on 400 primary children in Hertfordshire.
After an introduction to their virtual school, pupils get to know a new arrival and then have to deal with situations where he is being bullied and calling for help.