The Scottish Executive has thrown a new lifeline to the national anti-bullying helpline run by Childline.
The announcement of grant funding of pound;39,000 for the coming financial year was made by Jack McConnell, the Education Minister, who took part in an anti-bullying network conference in Dundee on Monday. Childline says the special number would have to close without the extra support. It handled calls from 1,595 children between April 1999 and March last year.
Mr McConnell pledged continuing vigilance in the battle to stamp out bullying but acknowledged there was a long way to go. "These are complex issues," he said. "Solutions will be any and varied and they will not be found overnight."
He singled out positive measures which schools ought to take such as the involvement of senior pupils in helping younger ones and improving discipline. "A school with a positive ethos encourages achievement, celebrates success, has high expectations of every child, has lower exclusion rates and fewer discipline problems," Mr McConnell said.
The ministerial task group on school discipline, due to report in June, will include anti-bullying measures as part of a broad strategy to improve pupil behaviour. This will involve better training for teachers in classroom management.