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How education bosses say The Courier’s bullying series will affect school practice in your area

A graphic representing the different forms of bullying
Our bullying series heard from local families on how school bullying had impacted their lives.

Education chiefs in Tayside and Fife have pledged to consider the issues raised by our school bullying investigation which highlighted the traumatic ordeals faced by local children.

It included accounts of children as young as seven experiencing suicidal thoughts and teenagers being traumatised after being pushed down concrete stairs.

And we surveyed parents who said they did not trust that the issue was being adequately dealt with in their school communities.

Schools follow anti-bullying protocols, inspired by local and national policy, which often use restorative action such as mediated conversations and supporting the perpetrator to learn from their behaviour.

We asked education leaders across Angus, Dundee, Fife and Perth and Kinross to explain how The Courier’s investigation could shape change in Dundee and what will be done to support children who are being bullied.

Dundee: Mental health strategy

On behalf of Audrey May, executive director of Dundee City Council’s children and families service, a spokesman said: “We are very interested in these findings and will be looking at them in detail.

“The voices of children, young people and families are very important to us.

“We are being proactive in our response to bullying incidents through our emotional mental health strategy Connected Tayside and UNCRC action plan placing children and young people’s rights and voice and the centre of what we do.

“Children, young people and families are involved in the process and appropriate action and support will be taken with consideration to individual circumstances and needs.

“Discussions continue with young people around these issues and we encourage them to come forward and talk to school staff.”

Dundee City Council’s children and families service Audrey May
Audrey May.

All schools have developed their own anti-bullying policies around the city-wide document.

The spokesman continued: “The city council’s children and families service wants the difference and unique qualities of our children and young people to be celebrated.

“Anti-bullying strategies are key to ensuring this happens across all establishments. The service monitors and reports on bullying incidents within its equalities outcome action plan.”

Perth and Kinross: Listen to concerns of young people

Perth and Kinross Council have said they will consider the findings of our special bullying series.

Parents or pupils with concerns about bullying are encouraged to speak to school staff.

A spokesman said: “Perth and Kinross Council believes all children and young people should learn in a safe and welcoming environment.

“The voices of parents, guardians, children and young people are incredibly important to us. We always listen to their concerns and work (with) families to address them.

“We take all incidents of bullying extremely serious and would urge parents and pupils to report any incidents to us.”

The local authority addresses concerns through a “range of approaches” in response to individual circumstances.

The spokesman added: “This survey (from The Courier) raised many interesting issues and we will consider its findings.”

Angus: ‘No school is immune to bullying’

Kelly McIntosh, Angus Council’s director of education and lifelong learning, said: “Every incident, complaint and allegation of bullying or harassment in our schools is taken very seriously and we welcome all response and appropriate efforts taken to shine a light on this very issue.

“No school is immune to bullies or bullying and none of our schools are complacent in this regard.”

Angus schools consult with their local communities in publicising and implementing anti-bullying policies, Ms McIntosh said.

And youngsters are encouraged to report all incidents.

Ms McIntosh said: “It is vital that we hear our young people when they want to report any incident or raise any concerns.

“Measures are in place to ensure this can be done immediately and we advise them to speak to a member of staff or another trusted adult so what they tell us can be addressed promptly and effectively.”

Fife: Robust policies to tackle bullying

Shelagh McLean, head of education and children’s services, said bullying was “unacceptable” and our research would be reflected up to ensure the local authority’s approaches were working.

She said: “Every Fife school has developed and implemented a robust anti-bullying policy designed to protect children who may be vulnerable to harassment.

“Any allegations of bullying are taken extremely seriously. This means that incidents are reported, recorded and responded to appropriately.

A girl on the ground being bullied
Our bullying series has looked at the impact physical and verbal bullying has on local children.

“In Fife we have implemented a range of approaches to ensure children and young people develop positive attitudes to support an inclusive society and a number of our schools are Rights Respecting Schools.

“This recognises that children will have developed understanding of racism, cultural values and respecting each other regardless of colour or background.

“We will continue to reflect on any research or information available to us that helps ensure these approaches are working.”

Anyone who witnesses bullying should report the incidents to a relevant authority, such as teachers, police or parents.

Scotland’s anti-bullying service RespectMe offers guidance for young people who are experiencing bullying and their parents and teachers.

If you feel like the bullying you witnessed at school or online was a hate crime, you can also report it to Police Scotland via 101.

Childline support young people with any worries they may experience, including mental health and bullying.

They can be contacted confidentially on 0800 11 11 or use their free 1-2-1 counselling service.

Read more from our bullying series