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Education Committee ‘lends a hand’ to support Anti-Bullying Week 2016

The Committee for Education in partnership with the Assembly Education Service has today launched a special interactive art initiative, as part of a range of Committee activities, to highlight Anti-Bullying Week 2016.

MLAs and school groups visiting Parliament Buildings this week are being asked to contribute to the artwork by cutting around a signed outline of their hand and attaching it to a canvas so as to quite literally ‘Lend a Hand’ to support Anti-Bullying Week 2016.

Speaking in advance of today’s launch, Education Committee Chairperson Barry McElduff MLA said: “The Committee is delighted to launch this art initiative in support of Anti-Bullying Week 2016 and we look forward to contributions from MLAs and local school children. It will, we hope, be a fun way of highlighting this very serious issue and to remind us all of our responsibilities in recognising and preventing bullying.”

Mr McElduff continued: “We have witnessed progress in recent years in identifying instances of bullying and through the introduction of proactive initiatives to counteract this unacceptable behaviour in our schools. The Addressing Bullying in Schools Act (2016) is a crucial step forward in providing a legal definition of bullying and setting out the duties of Boards of Governors to take measures to prevent bullying.”

Mr McElduff concluded: “Of course there is always much more we can do and it is important that we continually monitor how anti-bullying measures are working in our schools, how effective the legislation is in practice and how we can continue to work together to end bullying once and for all.”    

On Wednesday the Committee will also be visiting two local schools, Ashfield Boys High School in Belfast where they will hear evidence from the Northern Ireland Anti-Bullying Forum and meet with pupils who have been active in championing Anti-Bullying Initiatives in their school. Members will also visit St Ita’s Primary School in Carryduff where pupils have written and illustrated an e-book entitled ‘Stronger Together’ which looks at anti-bullying and emotional wellbeing.