Pupils help find solution to bullying

A SURVEY of Borders youngsters (S1-S3) has revealed that almost 40 per cent of them identified bullying as an issue prompting Scottish Borders Council to engage the help of the school pupils themselves to come up with solutions.

A Young People’s Commission, made up of a selection of young people, will decide how to research bullying, gather the evidence and with the help of experts they will present their findings to Scottish Borders Council, complete with a list of recommendations on how they think bullying should be dealt with in schools.

As things are at the moment the young people surveyed have already indicated where they feel improvements could be made. Almost half of them felt that schools could help more in educating youngsters about bullying; a massive 44 per cent felt that more input in the general area of emotional health is needed; cyber bullying is a worry for 32 per cent of the 2078 young people who responded to the initial survey (78 per cent of the S1-S3 age group).

Last week councillors at SBC’ education executive meeting councillors agreed to “a new and dynamic way in developing policy” - by enabling young people to work alongside councillors and council officials on issues that directly affect their age group.

Executive member for education, Councillor George Turnbull is excited about this new approach and said: “I am very pleased that this has received approval from the executive. The issues of ‘relationships’ and ‘respect’ impact on all young people and results from the recent Scottish Borders young people’s survey shows that there are still many issues concerning young people in the area of bullying.

“As we look at reviewing our current framework on bullying - we thought this presented the ideal opportunity to pilot a Young People’s Commission to carry out this work.

“We already have some excellent work underway through our HYPPE panels (Helping Young People Participate and Engage) for example, where young people have had some involvement aspects of policies in education. However, we believe this could be developed further to enable young people to be recruited and trained as ‘commissioners’ to carry out research to help form the basis of a new policy.”