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Last Updated: Thursday, 13 July 2006, 12:33 GMT 13:33 UK
Online poll aims to beat bullies
Mouse and keyboard
The poll's creator wants to reduce intimidation in schools
Schoolchildren are being asked to name bullies among them in an online poll.

The Bully Beater programme asks pupils to vote for the worst offenders, who are then ranked, with the information going only to selected teachers.

Its creator, Ralph McKay, said schools were "showing a lot of interest" and that he expected thousands to use the system within the next year.

It could help end "an atmosphere of intimidation", he added.

Backing with words

Bully Beater is part of the School Poll service used to gauge children's opinions on a number of subjects.

It lists all pupils in a school alphabetically, allowing their peers to rank them on a bullying scale.

Those who take part are also asked to provide comments to back up their assertions.

It is hoped this will prevent teachers falling for concerted campaigns to label victims as bullies.

Pupils can log in and vote at home, while only selected staff have access to the results.

Mr McKay said: "Most students know who the school bullies are, even if they haven't been victims themselves.

"But they don't want to say anything because they are intimidated. Hopefully this will go some way towards ending this.

"It won't stop bullying totally but it makes it far easier for teachers to get the information they need."

'Immediate picture'

More than 100 schools have been testing Bully Beater.

Mr McKay said: "The interest has been stronger than we thought. The students seem very keen to talk."

St Mary's Roman Catholic High School in Herefordshire is among those testing Bully Beater.

Assistant head teacher Mike Fitzgerald said: "No school is immune to bullying and schools have been searching for answers for a long time."

He added: "It has given us an immediate and very clear picture of where the bullying is occurring, who is affected and the extent of it."

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