To mark this year’s anti-bullying week, Dawn Jotham, safeguarding and pastoral care lead at TES, has come up with 10 recommendations for effective ways to deal with bullies and bullying.
She says: “Unfortunately, bullying has always been a problem in schools, but with the development of digital technology children and young people are often connected 24/7, so getting away from the bully has been increasingly difficult for the victim.
“Simply telling a young person to not look or not to visit sites where cruel words are being spoken is not as easy as it sounds. Strategies and strong communication are needed to tackle the symptoms of bullying and support children and young people.”
Important advice and recommendations
- Preventing bullying is not just for anti-bullying week and should be focused on all year round. Make sure all staff know the importance of dealing with or reporting bullying incidents.
- Look at each case in detail. You will very rarely have all the facts, and the bully and victim will have very different views about what is happening. Even people being bullied may not always tell the truth.
- Check the evidence. If there has been an incident, make sure you try to get as many accounts of it as possible. Things might not have played out exactly the way you were told.
- Encourage children and young people to speak out. Children should feel comfortable in speaking to adults and be assured that they will be listened to.
- Develop a student voice which focuses on anti-bullying and encourages mutual respect. Involve students in developing the school’s anti-bullying policy.
- Have anti-bullying assemblies, with role-plays included, which the children can develop and where they can take the lead.
- Talk to the children that are the bullies, they might be victims as well. There may be problems elsewhere in their life that cause them to act out.
- Use older pupils as peer mentors, for victims and perpetrators.
- Use mediation sessions or offer nurture groups and quiet spaces for students.
- Bullying is not pleasant and the effects can last for years. Do not turn a blind eye and dispel the myths it’s a case of “kids being kids”.
Dawn Jotham, TES safeguarding and pastoral care lead, helped develop the latest version of the TES Educare Preventing Bullying training course