Principals against bullying measures

The New Zealand Principals Federation has criticised Education Minister Chris Carter, following his latest attempts to curb bullying.

"The minister's release of anti-bullying cards is completely misguided," NZPF president Paddy Ford said.

"This initiative is simply a reaction to recent high profile bullying cases."

Mr Carter announced yesterday schools would have to put in place programmes to cope with bullying.

He said the Education Review Office (ERO) would keep an eye on them and check on incidents of bullying.

But Mr Ford said schools knew how to prevent bullying, and the majority were very good at it.

"The Education Review Office already checks whether schools have anti-bullying policies, and schools have strategies to deal with these issues.

"Recent reports from the Education Review Office have highlighted how good schools are at providing a positive atmosphere and taking care of the pupils in our schools. "

Mr Ford says a better strategy would be to introduce more counsellors, police education officers and social workers into schools to deal with bullying.

"These people can be a shared resource between schools. The minister has been repeatedly saying that there is no more money available to spend on education, yet he has managed to find thousands to spend on an inappropriate resource that will have no real impact."

One of the initiatives to be introduced was to give every student from year three a personal information card informing them about ways to keep safe in school.

But Mr Ford said teachers just want to get on with teaching and learning.

"We don't need ERO to have more externally driven compliance. We don't need the cards. We want comprehensive strategies that provide real resourcing to communities, to enable principals to continue to deliver high quality education."

- NZPA

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