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New panel to tackle ‘endemic’ bullying
A panel is to be set up to try to tackle the problem of bullying in Brighton and Hove’s schools.
A cross-party group of councillors will look into why children in the city are continuing to suffer abuse at the hands of other youngsters.
The investigation follows a request from Conservative Brighton and Hove city councillor Andrew Wealls backed by parents, charities and the youth council.
The scrutiny panel is expected to speak to experts on bullying as well as parents and victims before it comes up with recommendations for how to deal with the issue.
Coun Wealls said parents of pupils at Brighton and Hove schools told him that “things were as bad as they had ever been” with regards to bullying. One mother, who asked not to be named, admitted to Coun Wealls that “some of her children have been bullied whilst others were bullies”.
Coun Wealls said: “She says her experience is that schools do not take the issue seriously, claim they will deal with the problem and she doesn’t hear anything further.”
Tamsin Knight, a bullying prevention worker at Portslade-based charity Safety Net, said: “Some schools have a way to go and I also believe that there will always be a place to teach children lifelong assertiveness skills and techniques.”
Ian Cunningham, the principal of the Self-Managed Learning College, added: “Bullying is endemic in all of Brighton’s secondary schools. We have students from most of them. We have had experience of that.”
A spokesman for the youth council said: “Bullying does happen at school and not just in the playground – it also happens in the classroom.”
Sue Shanks, the chair of the council’s children and young people committee, said surveys suggested there had been a 10% drop in bullying in secondary schools over the last six years.
But she added: “We take bullying very seriously. “The city council, in partnership with colleagues in the community and voluntary sector, offers guidance and support to schools on preventing and responding to bullying.”