REPORTS of bullying in East Renfrewshire’s schools have dramatically dropped over the past three years, the Barrhead News can reveal.

Statistics gained via a Freedom of Information request show the number of incidents in the area’s primary schools has plummeted by almost 80 per cent since 2015/16, with just 10 recorded in the latest academic year up to the end of April, compared to the previous total of 46.

And a similar drop has been recorded in the area’s secondary schools, with incidents falling by more than 50 per cent between 2015/16, when there were 43, and this academic year, with 19 incidents recorded up until the end of April.

There has been a steady decline in the number of reported incidents of bullying at primary and secondary schools in recent years, with 41 and 24 recorded respectively in 2016/17 and the figures falling to 28 and 16 in 2017/18.

East Renfrewshire Council has said it will always take reports of bullying in any of the area’s schools seriously and believes the measures it already has in place have helped to reduce incidents.

A spokesperson told the Barrhead News: “We operate a zero-tolerance policy for all forms of bullying and take any allegations of this behaviour extremely seriously. 

“We have a very low incident rate of bullying behaviour in our schools and have robust policies and measures in place to investigate, address and record any issues.”

A Scottish Parliament report in 2017 identified the main reasons young people were bullied at school as physical appearance, the presence of an additional support need, sexual identity, race and faith.

It also found that sexualised bullying, which includes encouragement to send inappropriate photos, was a common method children experienced.

In addition, the report highlighted a large increase in online bullying, with the NSPCC children’s charity delivering 13 per cent more counselling sessions in 2015/16 than in 2014/15.

Experts at RespectMe – Scotland’s anti-bullying service – can offer support to any child or parent who would like advice with regards to bullying.

For more details, visit HERE.

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