Council fails to log school bullying... 5yrs after vow

GLASGOW City Council has been criticised for failing to regularly monitor the city-wide scale of bullying in its schools - despite vowing to do so FIVE years ago.

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Glasgow City Council has failed to keep track of bullies
Glasgow City Council has failed to keep track of bullies

In 2009, the authority ­announced plans to pull ­together figures from all Glasgow schools and report them on an annual basis to help detect increases and monitor trends.

They also outlined the moves in an anti-bullying policy - which is still in ­circulation - but they were never carried out.

The Evening Times ­revealed the council's IT system does not support this.

Councillor Martin ­Docherty, who has been calling for the issue to be resolved, said the authority should use other means to record the statistics.

The head of Glasgow-based national anti-bullying charity Respectme also said regular analysis of the figures is needed so that specific issues can be targeted in a bid to tackle the problem.

Individual schools in the city collect information on bullying incidents, using a form provided by the council, but they are not being regularly collated.

The council's education director said the local authority would like to be able to do this but they are limited by the technology it uses.

In November 2009, the ­local authority announced that it would begin collecting city-wide bullying ­statistics for the first time.

But when the Evening Times requested a copy of these figures, the authority had not carried out its promise.

A request under the Freedom of Information Act asked how many bullying complaints there had been in Glasgow schools in the last three years, what actions had been taken, how many had resulted in ­pupils being expelled and how many have involved police.

The response stated: "Glasgow City Council's management information system for logging complaints does not have the facility to retrieve statistics about bullying."

But the council's current anti-bullying policy for schools states: "Education Services will compile authority wide statistics and report to the policy development and scrutiny committee on an annual basis.

"These statistics may be used to inform the future procedures, programmes and policies within establishments and the authority."

Glasgow 's director of education, Maureen McKenna, said the council had asked for the IT system to be amended.

She said: "The anti-bullying policy makes reference to a recording system on the schools' management information system SEEMIS.

"SEEMIS is owned by all local authorities and if changes need to be made then a request has to be submitted to them for the IT to be amended. We have requested this but SEEMIS has been unable to action it.

"Therefore, while individual schools will monitor bullying incidents on an individual basis we don't have the facility to pull all this ­information together easily."

But Councillor Docherty said more must be done.

He added: "This is the 21st century - if the current IT system won't allow for these figures to be collated why can't this be done by other means, like manually or on an Excel document?

"I have been contacted by some people in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community specifically whose lives have been so badly effected they have been driven to self harm.

"It is very, very serious. And I think city-wide figures are vital for monitoring trends and ensuring that they are being addressed."

Brian Donnelly, director of Glasgow-based anti-bullying charity Respectme, spoke in support of Glasgow City Council when they announced plans for the wide-spread monitoring of bullying figures in 2009.

He told the Evening Times: "It it unfortunate that Glasgow City Council has been unable to get ­access to this data because it would be very helpful.

"They have taken a proactive approach to tackling bullying. If they could get access to this data then they would know how effective this has been."

A spokeswoman for Glasgow City Council said there are more than 300 schools and nurseries in the city, so collating the figures manually would be a "huge task".

She added: “Our staff and young people work extremely hard in promoting a strong anti-bullying ethos within all our schools.  

“Bullying is not tolerated in any shape and this is a consistent message in schools with support available to anyone who is experiencing this type of behaviour.

“Unfortunately we still do not have the management information systems to allow us to gather this information centrally but are still keen to pursue this as quickly as possible and continue to work with our colleagues at SEEMIS to deliver on this.”

linzi.watson@eveningtimes.co.uk

Local government

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