At a glance headlines: November 27, 2014

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Guidance for teachers on protecting themselves from cyber-bullying, concern about a rise in December calls to ChildLine, and a focus on Welsh medium education are among SecEd's At a glance headlines for November 27, 2014.

Cyber-bullying

New advice on how school staff can protect themselves against cyber-bullying has been published by the Department for Education (DfE). It encourages heads to support their staff facing abuse and outlines steps that teachers can take to protect themselves online. It comes after figures show around 20 per cent of teachers have reported having derogatory comments posted about them on social media sites, from both parents and children. Education secretary Nicky Morgan said: “It’s vital that all our teachers feel able to do their jobs properly, including being able to take a firm stance on poor behaviour. To do that they need to know their school will take action against reprisals in the form of online harassment and abuse.” The guidance, alongside other DfE advice on preventing bullying, can be downloaded online. Visit: http://bit.ly/1HCZNIQ

Suicidal thoughts

ChildLine has reported a 38 per cent year-on-year increase in contacts from children and young people feeling suicidal during the Christmas season. In December 2013, the service’s trained counsellors carried out almost 23,000 counselling sessions. The most common reason was family relationship issues, accounting for 13 per cent of contacts. However, more than 1,600 children and young people contacted ChildLine feeling suicidal – a 38 per cent increase compared to December 2012. There was also a 36 per cent increase in counselling sessions about low self-esteem and unhappiness. ChildLine saw a 24 per cent year-on-year increase in counselling sessions on Christmas Day. The free, confidential, 24-hour helpline and online service will once again be open throughout Christmas on 0800 1111 and at www.childline.org.uk

Family break-up

The potential for parental break-ups to have a negative impact on students’ GCSE and A level performance has been highlighted by new research. A study commissioned by Resolution and involving 502 young people aged from 14 to 22, found that 65 per cent believed their GCSE results were affected by a family break-up, while 44 per cent said their A levels suffered.

Welsh medium

Studying a range of subjects through the medium of Welsh is key to maximising students’ ability to discuss and write in the language, Estyn has said. A review of 10 bilingual schools in Wales has found that in those with low proportions of pupils following GCSEs through Welsh, the majority of pupils are not confident either in speaking or writing Welsh because there are not enough opportunities for them to use the language. It warns that only in a third of bilingual schools do most pupils who study Welsh as a first language follow two or more other GCSEs through the medium. To read the report, Linguistic Progression and Standards of Welsh in 10 Bilingual Schools, which also evaluates the effectiveness of curricular models and teaching methods, go to http://bit.ly/1rhA9PD


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