ENETOSH Network event
26 November 2010, European Parliament, Brussels
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Violence in the Education Sector

Thirty education and OSH experts at the ENETOSH Network Event “Violence in the Education Sector” quickly reach consensus: There must be a joint, holistic approach to preventing violence in schools.
Prof. Peter Smith from Goldsmith, University of London explained what is exactly meant by violence, bullying and cyberbullying in schools. Focus was placed on the “Multi-sectoral Guidelines to Tackle Third-party Violence and Harassment Related to Work” adopted in July 2010 due to the fact that the risk of experiencing both violence and harassment is greatest in the education and health sectors (EWCS 2005, Chapter 4). Penny Clark, Head of EU policy of the European Federation for Public Service Unions (EPSU) talked about the special conditions under which violence and harassment occur in the public sector. She also discussed the possibility of introducing measures for preventing violence as early as childhood.
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Célia Chamiça, Head of Cabinet of the Deputy Minister of Education in Portugal, and representative of the European Federation of Education Employers (EFEE), talked about the goals and contents of the guidelines. She used examples from Finland, Portugal, Sweden and Great Britain to demonstrate specific methods of dealing with violence and harassment in schools from different countries. “Third party violence” was a lively topic of discussion - especially in relation to the education sector. Everyone was unanimous regarding the importance of having a political framework as provided by the guidelines. This is particularly salient for the education sector because it is only from the beginning of this year that there has been a social dialogue at the European level.

Although it was still too early to discuss the implementation of the guidelines adopted in July, Susan Flocken, Representative of the European Trade Union Committee for Education (ETUCE) presented the updated Action Plan on Preventing and Tackling Violence in Schools which was passed just three days prior by the ETUCE Executive Board. Susan reiterated the importance of taking into consideration all levels of the education system and that schools, which are the working environment for teachers and other school staff and the learning environment for young people, must be safe and secure to ensure the best possible setting for teaching and learning.

Finally, Sarah Copsey from the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) again outlined the features of a whole-school approach: On the basis of dignity and respect for all, it is vital to involve everyone concerned, to foster the students’ sense of self-responsibility, to create a connection with the students’ private lives and above all, to improve cooperation between the education and occupational safety and health sectors.
This event highlighted violence and harassment as a potential area for joint efforts by experts in both the fields of education and OSH.

On the next page, you will find the programme of the event, as well as all presentations, additional documents and a picture gallery.
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