Will You Hear Me if I Scream?

 A frighteningly clear message – TIMSS and now PISA.

Internationally, approximately 10% of school students are bullied. The latest PISA results (51 countries) show an average of 8.9% of 15 year olds are bullied. For New Zealand it's up to 25% with only one country worse. The TIMSS report (out in 2016) similarly showed New Zealand in the bottom three countries for our year 5 kids. These data are pretty consistent with what we are finding too. The New Zealand KiVa student information for new schools is a pretty good match showing that about 20% of our students are bullied.

Whatever the data, the message is the same. Something is horribly wrong here and we need to stop avoiding it and address it urgently.

Let's look at what this means and what 20-25% of our student body represents in numbers. It is significant. We are talking about 150,000 -187,500 of our kids who are being pushed around or hit, threatened in some way, verbally abused, having their possessions destroyed or being excluded. Face to face, at school, on the way to and from school and at home via social networks. That's why I want to scream. I want it to stop.

I want more schools to be proactive. There is only one approach, KiVa, which is proving to be a success. We are seeing a difference in our small number of New Zealand schools. The improved situation for  kids in those schools matches what has been happening in Finland and other countries for several years. 

Recognition of  KiVa impact is becoming more widespread. We now hear from parents moving regions requesting names of KiVa schools in their new area. Teachers are starting to put 'KiVa trained' in their CVs. We are now being approached by the media. Parents are talking about KiVa in their child's school in social situations. But, we need more schools if we are to make a difference throughout New Zealand.

What a dream it would be to have these OEDC statistics change in our favour. Not just for the sake of statistics or to salvage our New Zealand pride (which would also be a great outcome), but for our kids.

Deidre Vercauteren 

Accent Learning 4 May 2017