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N.I Schools urged not to skip anti-bullying week

Primary, post-primary and special schools across Northern Ireland are being urged to register for Anti-Bullying Week (15 – 19 November) before Friday October 1.

Anti-Bullying Week is co-ordinated each year by the Northern Ireland Anti-Bullying Forum (NIABF), an inter-agency group which is hosted by Save the Children, and is supported by Translink.

This year’s theme will focus on ‘Where the bullying ,and how we can stop it’.

According to the latest research by Department of Education, pupils in school are more likely to experience bullying outside the classroom.

Amongst the sample of Year Six pupils, almost half of respondents stated that bullying took place in the playground/athletic field during lunch or break times.

While for Year 9 pupils, 38% of bullying took place in hallways or stairwells.Other locations mentioned included locker rooms, lunch halls, in classrooms when the teacher was absent and even in the toilets.

Lee Kane, NIABF’s regional anti-bullying co-ordinator, stresses the importance of Anti-Bullying Week, now in its sixth year: “Last year, over 600 schools across Northern Ireland took part in Anti-Bullying Week and we are hoping that even more schools will get involved this year.

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“It is a great opportunity to reinforce anti-bullying messages for all of those involved in schools - teachers, support staff, children and parents. Children and young people’s participation is especially critical in ensuring anti-bullying strategies are effective.

“We are urging schools to register online at www.niabf.org.uk before Friday 1st October and play an active part in Anti-Bullying Week. Once registered, schools will receive a free resource pack, which includes assembly plans, lesson activities and themed posters. Guidance will also be offered on preventative initiatives which can be used as part of an overall anti-bullying strategy.

“In addition this year we are running a schools competition to further engage pupils in this important initiative. Pupils are asked to submit ‘Art’ or ‘Performance/Multi-Media’ entries using the theme of ‘Where the bullying is, and how we can stop it’. A range of the entries will be exhibited across Northern Ireland during Anti-Bullying Week. The category winners and their schools will be invited to a special prize giving ceremony in Belfast.”

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