KIRKLEES is leading the county for tackling bullying in schools.
Recently published national statistics reveal that more than 90% of children say they have been bullied or have seen bullying.
But within Kirklees the number of bullied pupils has more than halved to less than 30%.
This is the highest fall in Yorkshire. And the local authority has been graded Outstanding for its anti-bullying policy, guidance and support for schools.
Recent UK research shows that more than a quarter of 11 – 16-year-olds have given up an activity because of bullying and half have played down a talent for the fear of being picked on.
The report highlights how bullying can hold children back from achieving their full potential.
Kirklees has worked hard to combat the problem. Officers have liaised with national organisations to build an action plan, which is now showing results.
In a recent West Yorkshire survey of teachers entitled ‘Prevalence of Homophobia’ carried out in conjunction with the police and NUT, Kirklees had by far the biggest return of any similar survey carried out by local authorities.
In the replies, 74% of teachers felt that their school was vigorously addressing this type of bullying, and 87% of teachers felt confident that they were tackling bullying effectively.
Further training is currently being developed locally in response to the teachers’ request for more specific support in this area.
A council spokesman said: “Training and support is offered to all schools and the majority have attended one or more sessions.
“Work has continued to ensure that the focus on effective anti-bullying work in schools continues and the focus is now on specific forms of bullying.
“Schools can also work to achieve the Kirklees Inclusion Quality Standard, which recognises schools’ inclusive practice (and therefore practice in tackling all forms of bullying). Since Autumn 2010, around 50 of our schools have gained the award.”