Thursday, 22 February 2018
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May 2017

Everybody’s Talking About...


Registration for this year’s Anti-Bullying Week (13-17 November 2017) is officially open and schools and youth organisations across Northern Ireland are being urged to sign up and take part in this important initiative. The Anti-Bullying Week 2017 theme is "All Equal, All Different, All Together". It aims to support schools and youth organisations to celebrate difference and diversity across Northern Ireland; bring children and young people together to celebrate what makes them and others unique; and help create welcoming and inclusive environments both off and online for children and young people. Children and young people are also being encouraged to get creative and use art, film and the written word to create anti-bullying messages for this year’s creative competition, the deadline for which is Friday June 23. Almost 700 schools and youth organisations got involved in last year's event so to register or find out more go to 


The Department of Education has launched a public consultation on proposed changes to eligibility criteria for free school meals and uniform grants. The changes are necessary due to the roll out of Universal Credit across Northern Ireland which begins in September 2017 and will be phased in over a number of years. The Department plans to add the receipt of Universal Credit with a net earnings threshold of £14,000 by a parent/guardian or pupil to the existing eligibility criteria to provide free school meals and uniform grants. It is intended that this new criterion should approximately maintain the numbers of pupils entitled as those under the existing criteria. The consultation will close at 5pm on Monday June 5 and can be accessed on the Department’s website


Four out of five children feel that social media companies aren’t doing enough to protect them from pornography, self-harm, bullying, and hatred on their sites, NSPCC and O2 research has found. The findings were revealed in the latest Net Aware guide, a parents’ guide to 39 of the most popular social media sites, apps, and games used by young people, produced by the NSPCC in partnership with O2. When polled for the new Net Aware guide children rated ASKfm, Omegle, IMVU, and Facebook as some of the most risky sites, prompting the NSPCC and O2 to urge parents to look beyond the “big names” and find out about the lesser known apps their children are using. A 15-year-old girl who reviewed IMVU said: “There are some people on the site who are very unstable and vulnerable who are taken advantage of.” Pokemon Go, Periscope, IMVU, and are amongst the new apps to be featured on Net Aware, along with the more well-known sites including Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter. Head of NSPCC in Northern Ireland, Neil Anderson said: “Social media is a great way for young people to stay in touch with their friends, but it’s vital parents know about their child’s online world and regularly talk with their children about how to get help if they need it. The PSNI have also recently warned parents about a new app Simsimi which is being used as a medium for cyber bullying and are requesting the support of all parents/carers in preventing the use of this app.

Emily and James top tots for second year in a row - Statistics published by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency have revealed that Emily and James were the most popular first names given to baby girls and boys in Northern Ireland for births registered in 2016. Emily has been the most popular girls’ name in each of the past four years, albeit jointly with Grace in 2013. This is only the second time that James has held the top spot, despite being in the top five since records began in 1997. Jack (which held the top spot for 12 consecutive years between 2003 and 2014) comes a close second to James in popularity with Oliver in third place. Grace has taken second place in the top 10 for the third time in four years, whilst Olivia comes a close third. 

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