“High proportion” of parents unsure of how anti-bullying measures work in schools

New measures to be introduced by term end

 Harold Hislop, the chief inspector of Irish schools, at the Department of Education and Science in Dublin. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Harold Hislop, the chief inspector of Irish schools, at the Department of Education and Science in Dublin. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Thu, Feb 20, 2014, 01:00


A quarter of parents are unsure about the effectiveness of anti-bullying measures in their children’s schools as new mandatory procedures are due to be introduced by the end of this term.

An Oireachtas committee on education yesterday heard from Harold Hislop, the chief inspector of Irish schools, on his report for 2010 to 2012.

The findings, which were published last November, had raised concerns about the standard of teaching in Irish and maths in particular.

However, discussing the report in committee yesterday, Doreen McMorris, assistant chief inspector, told the members: “We have a few findings that are of concern in relation to bullying.


Questionnaires
“Perhaps the most striking one is the very high proportion of parents that indicate that they don’t know whether they are happy or not about how schools deal with bullying.

“That is to the measure of 25 per cent in both primary and post-primary.”

These findings were arrived at through questionnaires filled out by parents in line with the approach of “whole-school evaluation”.

This involves a “large sample of students and their parents” completing confidential questionnaires in which they are asked about the school’s “atmosphere and climate”.

Mr Hislop added that while the level of students who feel safe in school is often above 90 per cent, where this level dips, inspectors inform the schools of a need to revisit the issue with the student body.

Last September, Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn introduced a statutory requirement for procedures to be put in place which would include a policy on cyber-bullying. These will be introduced by the end of the current term.