Information for TeachersAnti-Bullying Network
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What can individual teachers do?

It is true that reducing the level of bullying in schools is dependent on having an effective whole school policy which involves all members of a school community, but individual teachers can make a difference by:

  • Taking part in activities leading towards the development of a whole school policy (see here)
  • Ensuring that classrooms have an ethos in which bullying is unacceptable
  • Helping children to acquire the knowledge, skills and values that contribute to the development of non-bullying behaviour.

The non-violent classroom

Research suggests that a significant number of children are bullied by their peers in the classroom (see Spotlight 23). This may happen in a subtle manner of which the teacher is unaware but its effect can be just as serious as an overt physical attack. It may be a muttered threat, a passed note or just a look, but the victim may be sufficiently distressed by it to be unable to take a full part in the lesson.

However vigilant a teacher is, it is impossible to prevent all bullying by relying on supervision alone. Teachers must strive to create a classroom ethos in which bullying is unacceptable and is openly discussed with pupils. If an incident of bullying does occur in a classroom, pupils need to know how a teacher is likely to react if they decide to speak out. They must be confident that their concerns will be dealt with calmly and fairly.

Most teachers who bring the subject of bullying into their lessons will reflect on their own behaviour towards their pupils and their colleagues. They will begin to think about the difference between teacher bullying, which is an abuse of power, and a consistent but fair discipline regime which contributes towards the creation of an orderly learning environment.


Teaching pupils not to bully

Teachers who wish to reflect on the way in which anti-bullying can be tackled within the curriculum should obtain a copy of the following publication:

Promoting Personal Safety and Child Protection in the Curriculum, published by Moray house Institute, Edinburgh in 1998.

Copies of this book were distributed freely to all schools in Scotland. It is now out of print. The Scottish Executive, which is the copyright holder, does allow it to be photocopied. The book discusses the knowledge, skills and values relating to anti-bullying and child protection and includes a description of relevant teaching packages.


A starting point

A book which provides a good starting point if you want to find out more about bullying and the ways in which schools can tackle it is:

Bullying in schools and what to do about it, by Ken Rigby, published in 1997 by Jessica Kingsley Publishers. ISBN 1853024554.


Some available resources
  • Spotlight 23 - Bullying in Scottish Secondary Schools [Available here...]
  • Spotlight 43 - Finding out about Bullying [Available here...]
  • A list of references [go here and click on Reading List]
  • Links to Anti-Bullying information on the World Wide Web [go here and click on 'Want to surf?']
  • A leaflet describing discipline and Anti-Bullying materials published by SCRE
  • A leaflet describing Discipline and Anti-Bullying materials published by Moray House School of Education
  • Information about conferences being organised by the Anti-Bullying Network
  • Dealing with Disruption - this CD-Rom, a Scottish resource, is now available to view online (you will need QuickTime 4.1 and Adobe Acrobat); an adapted module from this CD-Rom entitled 'Disruption in Class' is also available to view here.
  • Safer Scotland/Scottish Executive distributed a new resource pack 'Let's Stop Bullying' in June 2005. This pack includes classroom/groupwork resources for children in the age range P6-S1, tips for adapting resources for older or younger age groups, and worksheets to support learning activities. Learn more here.


The Anti-Bullying Network can be contacted by email.