Social Entrepreneurs Ireland Finalist

SEI irish times

Social Entrepreneurs Ireland Finalist
Patricia Kennedy, founder of Sticks and Stones Anti-bullying Programme™ was identified as one of Ireland’s top 20 Social Entrepreneurs and is currently competing in the final for a Social Entrepreneurs Ireland Elevator award. The winners will be announced November 2014.

“They are remoulding our communities, our towns and our cities, showing their fellow citizens what is possible when we take control of our own destiny. They avoid what is easy and focus on what is right. They have given up their seats on the sidelines and have joined the game, levelling the playing field in the process. The work that these entrepreneurs undertake is pivotal in securing the future for Ireland…” Eamonn Fitzgerald, SEI Awards Programme Coordinator.

President urges children not to engage in bullying

President urges children not to engage in bullying

The President, Michael D Higgins, has urged young people not to get involved in cyberbullying or ganging up on vulnerable classmates.

Irish Examiner, Saturday, January 26, 2013, By Niall Murray, Education Correspondent

He said he has been encouraged by the responses of young children as he appeals to them on the issue in visits to schools.

“I have been speaking of the importance of ensuring that no child is ever pushed to the margin, or the collective used against a child suffering from deep, deep loneliness,” he said.

“New and sophisticated technology is now available and competes for pupils’ attention and may assist them, but has also led to the increased current danger of deeper and more far reaching bullying of vulnerable children,” he said.

The President told the Irish Primary Principals’ Network annual conference a proper aim of education and a true measure of a country is being able to value its shared health, and have the mental wellbeing of its citizens — and particularly its smallest ones — as its concern.

He was greatly concerned by the IPPN survey finding, featured in yesterday’s Irish Examiner, that one in five principals are reporting that more pupils are arriving at school hungry.

“In 2013, in our Irish Republic, the Irish people do not want this,” he said. “I know that very well from my own many visits to such places as St Munchin’s in Limerick where 500 children are fed every day — so they can learn properly by at least not being hungry — by wonderful and dedicated people.”

He said that teachers should not be impeded by bureaucratic requirements or testing exercises from sharing their talents and encouraging creativity.

Seán Cottrell, director of the IPPN, said principals strive to achieve the very best for the children in their care. But, he said, failure by the Department of the Education to address the additional workload created for them by new rules and schemes will adversely affect the quality of education.

“These initiatives arrive first in glossy publications, but to get them into action is a big challenge,” said Mr Cottrell. “The school is seen as the place to cure all society’s ills, but while we have a role to play it should be through curriculum and not through add-ons when there is only half an hour a week for social, personal and health education.

“If the wastage in the university sector was applied to primary education, we’d be well-funded. The big focus now is on fourth-level and more PhDs, but unless you get primary education well funded, the education system will crumble upwards from the bottom.”

He said two thirds of primary principals are also teachers and called for the same support as available in the North, where teaching principals have one non-teaching day a week for administration work, compared to one in every two-and-a-half weeks for some principals here.

Department of Education secretary general Seán Ó Foghlú said the burden associated with a range of new initiatives is recognised but schools are being given more autonomy in return for greater accountability to the department and parents.

Category: Media Coverage · Tags:

Quarter of children bullied in past year

Quarter of children bullied in past year

Tuesday, February 05, 2013, Irish Examiner By Niall Murray, Education Correspondent

The level of bullying felt by nine to 16-year-olds is slightly higher than the EU average. But among those who use the internet more regularly, the extent of bullying is felt far higher than by others.Although the 4% of all Irish children bullied online is lower than EU-wide, it rises to 14% among children whose online presence is more extensive.

As well as the extent of bullying, the EU Kids Online study asked about the effects and how children deal with it. Almost two- thirds of girls who have been cyberbullied said they were very or fairly upset, compared to 38% of boys, but more than 80% of 11 and 12-year-olds were more than a bit upset by it.

One-in-three boys and girls said they felt the effects for at least a few weeks, with more than half of those affected for a couple of months or more.

Again, the effects were felt for longer by young children, with 40% of 11 and 12-year-old cyber- bullying victims feeling the effects for months.

The 14% of all cyber-bullying victims who were more deeply affected for a couple of months is very high compared to an equivalent figure of 2% across Europe.

“This is the first time that the impact of cyberbullying on Irish youngsters has been measured and reveals the significant impact it can have on victims,” said Brian O’Neill from the Dublin Institute of Technology, one of the report’s authors.

It also emerged from the research of 1,000 Irish children that fewer than a one third who were bullied on the internet had let their parents know.

However, while 71% of bullying victims talk to someone about it, mostly a friend or a parent, only 6% speak to a teacher.

The report recommends additional school policies and classroom activities to help teachers develop appropriate strategies, and it says young people must be encouraged to speak more openly about cyberbullying.

The researchers also advise finding ways to improve communication between parents and children, given the high gaps in awareness.

It said: “Awareness-raising efforts should focus on encouraging dialogue between parents or carers and children about cyberbullying and how to deal with it.”

With 28% of victims trying to fix the problem themselves and one in four ignoring the issue and hoping it would go away, the Up To Us bystander campaign was launched to mark Safer Internet Day.

“It is encouraging people who witness online bullying to positively get involved to show their support for people who have to put up with nastiness and sustained bullying online,” said Simon Grehan, project co-ordinator with Webwise.

As part of the ongoing ‘Watch Your Space’ social media campaign, it is separate from the national anti-bullying website that will form part of the Government action plan on bullying.

The level of cyberbullying appears to increase as children get older, according to the report’s findings.

However, face-to-face bullying still accounts for about two thirds of cases reported here, and a higher proportion of bullying of younger children.

*[url=]; Support is available at, by calling 1800 66 66 66, or by texting Talk to 50101.

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Sticks & Stones the Irish anti-bullying initiative wins European award. Sunday Independent

start empathycheminsSTICKS & Stones, the Irish anti-bullying initiative, was awarded Chemins d’Enfances’ Let’s Innovate for Children! Award last week at a special ceremony in Paris.

Sticks & Stones uses drama to address the issue of bullying in both primary and post-primary schools.

 Sunday Independent 7/10/12

Category: Anti-bullying, Media Coverage · Tags:

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