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Taking The Bull By The Horns- Australia To Tackle Bullying In Schools

Australian Prime Minister John Howard, who raised concerns about school bullying has decided to give more power to school principals to equip them against the menace.

The Prime Minister will announce this move at a meet unveiling the Governments new education agenda.

Yet, critics of the Prime Minister like the Labor party, school principals and the Australian Education Union say this is nothing new.

New South Wales Education Minister John Della Bosca has said that this move is akin to the schools funding deal introduced in 2004, in which the Federal Government required better reporting to parents on school bullying and greater autonomy for school principals.

According to Bosca, the state's government schools already had anti-bullying policies and were reporting regularly to the school community.

Australian Education Union Victorian branch president Mary Bluett terms the Prime Minister all talk and no action. 'He's not prepared to put money in to support the important work that government schools are already doing on this issue,' she says.

According to Andrew Blair, president of the Australian Secondary Principals Association, the issue is a chronic lack of funding for schools.

'Schools in Australia are crying out for more support in terms of welfare officers, psychologists to work with these young people who need assistance, that's the real issue,' he says.

'We are not in a position to help all young people as we would wish, because simply the resources are not there.'

Prime Minister John Howard is expected tonight to outline plans to combat bullying and violence in schools, as well as giving principals greater power to hire and fire teachers and expel problem students.

Mr. Howard's speech comes ahead of negotiations for the next $42 billion, four-year, federal-state agreement on school funding.


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