By Dominic McGrath, PA
School inspectors will be asked to look at how staff are implementing anti-bullying policies, the Minister for Education has said.
Appearing before the Oireachtas Education Committee on Tuesday, Norma Foley said that during this school year inspectors will be prioritising the monitoring and gathering of information on the implementation of anti-bullying measures.
In her opening statement to the committee, the Minister said: “The inspectorate will be looking at bullying matters through a comprehensive programme of incidental inspections in primary and post-primary schools.
“These inspections will result in feedback to individual schools about how they are implementing anti-bullying procedures as well as the publication of an interim composite report on how the anti-bullying procedures are being implemented.”
Positive school culture
She also said that from 2022, the monitoring of anti-bullying measures will be extended to all types of school inspections.
This, Ms Foley said, “will include looking at the actions of the school to create a positive school culture as well as the implementation of important aspects of the anti-bullying procedures”.
In the second half of 2022, school inspectors will also be asked to carry out specific anti-bullying inspections in schools.
[We] will specifically consider areas such as cyberbullying and gender identity bullying
The Minister also said that the Department of Education will review and update the action plan on bullying procedures to “take account of developments and relevant research since the action plan and procedures were first published and will specifically consider areas such as cyberbullying and gender identity bullying”.
Minister of State for Special Education Josepha Madigan said that a new online course for primary and secondary school teachers on cyberbullying will be introduced from 2022.
“We must foster a school culture based on respect and inclusion where bullying, when it does happen, will be acknowledged and addressed appropriately,” Ms Madigan said.