TV star launches anti-bullying drive

TELEVISION star Esther Rantzen launched a major anti-bullying campaign which champions children as the solution.The Childline founder joined Government Minister Ivan Lewis and teachers and experts at the East of England's "Tackling Bulling: Make the Difference" at the Five Lakes Hotel and Country Club in Tolleshunt Knights, near Maldon.

TELEVISION star Esther Rantzen launched a major anti-bullying campaign which champions children as the solution.

The Childline founder joined Government Minister Ivan Lewis and teachers and experts at the East of England's "Tackling Bulling: Make the Difference" at the Five Lakes Hotel and Country Club in Tolleshunt Knights, near Maldon.

Supported by 500 school staff and professionals and part of a national campaign to transfer best practice, the event yesterday highlighted the the problem but also the extent to which children and even the bullies themselves are key to the solution.

Ms Rantzen, whose child help-line charity receives thousands of calls each year from victims of bullying, was convinced that positive pupil relationships were essential in tackling the problem.


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She said: "Bullies are also victims. Although on the verge of exclusion, a bully may be suffering at home. If you bring him on side and tackle it in the round, you do something for that child's life also. A child bully can otherwise become a violent criminal.

"A "support-group" attitude can turn a lynch mob into the support group."

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Ms Rantzen was certain that helping others to understand the emotional pain inflicted by bullies created an anti-bullying climate as well as fostering support for the victim.

"Children then think of ways to help. The lynch mob takes possession of the ideas - it's enormously effective."

Mr Lewis was promoting the Government's anti-bullying "Charter for Action" as a way schools can commit to a culture where bullying is not tolerated but actively tackled.

He said: "The stakes are very high. Bullying has a traumatic impact on children's lives - it blights their life-chances.

"If children are unhappy they don't see school in a positive way. It's central to raising standards and schools' achievement by running a positive learning environment."

Terry Creissen, headteacher at the Colne Community School in Brightlingsea, was also at the conference.

He added: "Tackling bullying is the biggest issue in education. Trying to target GCSE results is irrelevant unless the children are in a balanced emotional state.

"I will now be pushing harder to get more children involved. The peer approach has worked in so many areas - the solution comes from children."

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