Schools to be required by law to tackle bullying as a ‘key task’

The government is introducing a new strategy to deal with school bullying, after two high-profile suicides by teenagers in recent months.

Schools are to be required by law to take action to combat bullying, and school inspectors will be able to step in if schools fail to protect pupils properly, according to the new strategy, which was presented on Monday.

The proposals, drawn up by the education ministry and children’s ombudsman, form part of a major report on bullying following the deaths of Tim Ribberink and Fleur Bloemen. 

‘They are tragic examples which make it clear urgent attention is needed for bullying and safety in school,’ the report states.


Teachers are to be given extra training to learn how to identify bullying and to combat it. Extra attention will also be paid to the subject at teacher training colleges.

‘One of schools’ key tasks is to ensure a safe environment,’ the report states. ‘It has to be clear to everyone that bullying is unacceptable.’ The new measures will apply to both primary and secondary schools.

The report also points out there has been a surge in the development of anti-bullying programmes, not all of which are effective.

The ministry is therefore expanding its research into anti-bullying techniques to determine which work best. Once decided, schools will be required by law to implement one of them.

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