Newsletter 5 Anti-Bullying Network
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Annual Surveys of Racist and Bullying Incidents in The City of Edinburgh

The City of Edinburgh Council (CEC) has the most experience in Scotland of recording bullying and racist incidents. In 1999, the Council published a set of guidelines, including a reporting form. Earlier this year a report was published based on the figures collected, and a review of procedures is now taking place. The CEC Policy lists the following advantages of collecting figures of racist and bullying incidents at Authority level: informing future procedures, programmes and policies; assisting in the effective targeting of resources and supporting establishments; possibly indicating the need for action in relation to a particular sector and/or type of incident and aiding the identification and dissemination of good practice. In addition a number of issues will have to be tackled: even with a standardised reporting form headteachers will still record incidents differently. Some will be highly sensitive to bullying or racist behaviour and will record more incidents. This may lead to the situation where schools with an apparently high incidence of bullying and racism have a greater awareness of the problem and more effective strategies than those recording a lower number of incidents. Improvements in policy and practice could lead to an increased level of reporting. These figures must be interpreted carefully and sensitively. Another issue is that of openness. The CEC has adopted a policy of openness which seems to be successful. The attitude of the media to the figures is another factor to be taken into account. Definition of the type of bullying incidents recorded should also be considered. How broad or narrow? Dealing with these issues will require staff training; ongoing discussions at school and authority level to clarify the type of incident to be reported and most importantly, the development of a consensus around the idea that the effort involved in recording incidents is indeed worthwhile.

Roy Jobson Further information is available from:
Roy Jobson
Director of Education
City of Edinburgh Council
10 Waterloo Place
Edinburgh EH1 3EG.

City of Edinburgh Council
University of Strathclyde


Coping with Bullying
In our last newsletter we mentioned research being carried out by Simon Hunter at the University of Strathclyde. Since then, Simon has twice visited 10 Primary and 5 Secondary schools, looking at how coping strategies influence self-esteem and depression, as well as what strategies pupils think are best for dealing with different types of bullying. Over 1400 P5, P6, S1 and S2 pupils completed surveys, and initial results suggest that even children experiencing short-term peer aggression report lower self- esteem and heightened levels of depression, reinforcing the early-intervention message. More details from: Simon Hunter, e-mail Phone: 0141-548 4391