Information for Parents Anti-Bullying Network
Back What is known about bullying?
  • Bullying happens in all schools. In good schools, this fact is acknowledged and policies are developed which aim to make it less likely that bullying will happen and to deal with it when it does.
  • Research suggests that about half the pupils in our schools are bullied at some time during their school careers.
  • Only a minority of children are seriously bullied, but this is a significant minority and some have their lives altered as a result.
  • Children who are being bullied are worried and distressed. They may lose sleep, feel ill or play truant. They will not be able to concentrate properly on their lessons.
  • Although some children may be more likely than others to be the victims of bullying, it can happen to any child. All it takes is to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
  • There are many different forms of bullying. At one end of the spectrum, it merges into relatively harmless "rough-and-tumble", and at the other it becomes serious assault or harassment.
  • Verbal and psychological bullying can be just as harmful and hurtful as physical violence.

What is expected of schools?
  • All schools are now officially encouraged to develop anti-bullying policies.
  • In Scotland, Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Education expect schools to have a policy statement which accurately describes how bullying is tackled.
  • Given all the support and advice which has been made available to schools over the past ten years, it is reasonable to expect that all reports of bullying will be treated seriously and dealt with calmly. It is unreasonable to expect any school to be free of bullying, or that teachers will be able to stop every single episode of bullying as soon as it is revealed. Coping with persistent bullying demands a consistent long-term approach.

What should schools do?

The single most effective thing that a school can do to tackle bullying is to have a policy outlining how the issue is raised within the curriculum, and how incidents are dealt with after they have happened. If it is to work, such a policy must involve all members of a school community including pupils, parents, teachers and non-teaching staff. It must provide a range of opportunities for pupils to talk about bullying.

Bullying behaviour of all kinds must be challenged. Everybody must get a clear message that bullying is wrong. Parents, pupils and teachers expect bullies to be punished, but in many cases punishment will be ineffective or inappropriate. That is why schools are increasingly adopting strategies such as no-blame, common concern, peer support and circle time discussions. In doing this, they are starting to reduce the level of bullying and to improve the learning environment.


What can parents do?

If you want to help reduce the level of bullying in your child's school, you must:

  • Work with the teachers (and pupils).
  • Take part in activities organised by the school, the parents' association, the School Board or the governing body.
  • Make sure that your voice is heard.

Some available literature
  • Let's Stop Bullying - Advice for Parents and Families - a leaflet published by the Scottish Office. [Available here...]
  • Focus on Bullying - a document sent out to School Boards by the Scottish Office in 1994. [Call the InfoLine for a copy]
  • Bullying at School - Advice for Families. [Available here...]
  • Spotlight 43 - Finding out about Bullying. [Available here...]

Back Important Numbers
  • 0800 44 1111 - the ChildLine Bullying Line is for young people who have a problem with bullying.
  • 0808 800 2222 - ParentLine Scotland aims to help parents with any kind of worry or problem