Commissioners outline progress of anti-bullying consultations

The Aberdeenshire Council Youth Commissioners have relayed their anti-bullying findings to the local authority
The Aberdeenshire Council Youth Commissioners have relayed their anti-bullying findings to the local authority

A group of Aberdeenshire pupils who are examining different forms of bullying and how to tackle them have outlined their research plans to councillors and senior council officers.

Aberdeenshire Council’s Youth Commissioners recently met with councillors and education colleagues to provide an update on their work so far and an outline of the project to date.

Youth Commissioners were appointed in July to tackle bullying amongst young people through the development of policy recommendations, as part of a project led by Aberdeenshire Council’s Education, Learning and Leisure Service.

The commissioners have been busy over the last eight weeks developing a survey they wish to send to schools for primary and secondary pupils, their teachers and parents to complete.

Various professionals have also visited the Youth Commission to provide information which will help inform their recommendations.

Information has been received from Tam Baillie, Scotland’s Commissioner for Children and Young People as well as professionals from NHS Grampian and Aberdeenshire Council. Scotland’s anti-bullying service, respectme, has also been supporting the work of the group.

Commissioner Maya Vertigans (14), said: “All this input has helped us gain a better understanding of what bullying is to different people and how we should tackle it. It also helps us to begin to write the policies we will put forward to the council next year.”

At a meeting in Aberdeen on Thursday, commissioners delivered a presentation on their work to date to councillors and education officers.

The audience heard the commissioners are developing a support website, and a survey that will be sent to schools across Aberdeenshire. They will use the information gathered from the consultation to prepare a series of recommendations for consideration by Aberdeenshire Council’s Education, Learning and Leisure Committee in March 2014.

Commissioner Lisa McWilliam (17), said: “I joined youth commission because I wanted to help and protect young people. I feel that bullying is a situation that no school child must be put through.”

Commissioner Elaine Wallace, 16, from Ellon, said: “We were really excited to meet with Councillors and Aberdeenshire Council to discuss the project and show some of the work we are currently undertaking.”

Among those in attendance at the presentation were Director of Education, Learning and Leisure Maria Walker; chair of the Education, Learning and Leisure Committee Cllr Isobel Davidson, and vice-chair Cllr Ron McKail.

Cllr Davidson said: “I was very impressed with the enthusiasm of the commissioners, and the approach they are taking to the project. They have clearly carried out a lot of work to look at the scope of the scheme, and have created a sensible and wide-reaching plan to gather the information they need.”