NORTH Ayrshire Council this week launched a new anti-bullying policy at an event in Irvine.

The new ‘Bullying; It’s Never Acceptable’ policy was implemented after approval from the council’s cabinet on Tuesday and it provides advice and guidance to schools and centres to ensure there is a consistent approach across all NAC establishments.

It provides them with a structure to manage incidents of bullying and supports them to build positive relationships within their schools and communities.

The policy emphasises the importance of staff training, schools’ work with parents/carers and, most importantly, their engagement with the young people.

The ‘Bullying; It’s Never Acceptable’ policy is the latest step taken by the council to develop supportive and inclusive environments for our young people.

The council’s Education and Youth Employment Directorate has been commended by the General Teaching Council Scotland for its nurturing and caring approach to working with and supporting children and young people.

Also, the council’s family support team work closely with parents/ carers to identify issues early, whilst new school counsellors have been a very good addition to the support in secondary schools.

Councillor John Bell, Cabinet member for Education and Youth Employment, said: “We are doing lots of work in this area and the ‘Bullying; It’s Never Acceptable’ policy is the latest piece of work towards eradicating bullying from our establishments.

“As the policy says, bullying is quite simply never acceptable. We are a child-centred council and veryproud of that.

“We want all our young people to realise their potential and recognise that bullying can have such a negative impact.

“The policy is a framework and guidance for all our education establishments to help them tackle this really important issue.

“We have to ensure a consistent approach across all educational establishments in North Ayrshire where bullying behaviour is recognised and challenged and not tolerated under any circumstances.

“We preferably want to address bullying before any issues arise. That won’t always be possible so we want to have structures in place that can help us deal with any issues if and when they arise.

“We want to make sure that everyone feels safe, happy, healthy and secure, both where they live and where they go to school. “We hope this policy will reassure young people that we are dealing with bullying behaviour.

“This is very much a holistic approach and only by working in partnership can we ensure we are doing the best for our children and young people in North Ayrshire.”