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
- 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.
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.
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.
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
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.
- Let's Stop Bullying - Advice
for Parents and Families - a leaflet published by the Scottish Office.
- 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...]
- 0800 44 1111
- the ChildLine Bullying Line is for young people who have a problem
- 0808 800 2222
- ParentLine Scotland aims to help parents with any kind of worry or