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The Anti-Bullying Alliance have written these top tips for all teachers and school staff that want to take action against bullying:
- Bullying is not just something that children and teenagers go through. It is well researched that bullying causes long term damage to both the person on the receiving end, and those who bully others.
- It is not a child’s fault if they are bullied. Children should never be told to just ignore it, or to change who they are. It is those doing the bullying that need to change their behaviour and their attitude. This is particularly true if the bullying is targeted at a pupil’s gender, sexuality, race, faith, impairment or special educational need.
- It is not true that girls are ‘bitchy’ and boys just have a punch up and get over it. Avoid gender stereotypes when it comes to tackling bullying. Anyone can be capable of bullying behaviour and it has a serious impact on both boys and girls. In fact, we know that this type of stereotyping can lead to boys underreporting bullying behaviour which can have a long term negative impact.
- Children need to be supported to speak out if they or someone they know is being bullied. Make it clear how pupils can report bullying. If a child tells you they are being bullied – take what they say seriously and ask them what they want to happen. Tell them that together you will make it stop and record all your actions. Make sure you promote external support services like ChildLine for those children that may not feel confident talking to school staff.
- The only way to stop bullying is to acknowledge that it happens and create a talking culture in your school where any hurtful behaviour is quickly brought out in the open, discussed and dealt with. It is rarely one on one behaviour, so take time to find out who else is involved – and how other pupils can support the person on the receiving end, while making it clear to the person or people doing the bullying that it’s not acceptable.
- Make sure your Anti-Bullying Policy is up to date, freely accessible (it’s good practice to publish this on your website) and regularly promoted – and that it makes clear how you will respond to bullying as a school community.
- Challenge all forms of offensive or discriminatory language in your school (e.g. homophobic and transphobic comments, sexist and sexual language, racist and faith targeted comments, disablist words).
- Take time to talk to pupils about what it feels like to be in your school, whether there are any bullying hot spots – and if there is anything you could do differently to stop bullying.
- Don’t underestimate the extent to which you are a role model to pupils – work hard to create an environment which is caring, respectful and where difference is celebrated.