What do we mean by bullying?
The accepted national definition of bullying is "behaviour by an individual or group, usually repeated over time, that intentionally hurts another individual or group either physically or emotionally".
This can take various forms including:
- verbal - name calling, teasing, swearing, spreading rumours
- physical - hitting, pushing, pinching, kicking
- emotional - ignoring or isolating, taking or damaging possessions, being forced to do things against own will, being forced to hand over money
- cyber - nasty or threatening texts and emails
- homophobic - based on sexuality
- racist - based on religion or racial or ethnic origin
- disability - based on a disability
- sexual - inappropriate touching.
Why do people bully?
Quite often people who bully are unhappy themselves. They sometimes bully to get attention because they need help too.
Do schools have an anti-bullying policy?
Your child’s school has to have an anti-bullying policy by law. You are entitled to request a copy of the policy to view. The policy tells you what the school does to address issues of bullying and sets out its procedures.
What should you do if you think your child is being bullied?
“Don’t go rushing in at the deep end because this can make things worse”.
— Year 6 pupil
- Look for changes in your child such as avoiding school, faking illness, being moody, losing dinner money, anxiety, being withdrawn and quiet and coming home with cuts and bruises.
- Keep calm.
- Talk to your child about what has happened and keep a record of incidents. Reassure your child that he/she is not to blame and has done the right thing in telling you.
- Talk calmly to a member of staff about the bullying, being as specific as possible. If your child is at infant or primary school and you need any help or advice about bullying in school then please contact your child’s teacher, headteacher or member of staff. If your child is at secondary school and you need any help or advice about bullying in school then please contact your child’s form tutor, head of year, headteacher or member of staff.
- Ask what you can do to help and stay in touch with the school.
- Look at What other sources of information or support are there? for guidance.
- If you feel that school is not doing enough to help, ask to see the anti-bullying policy to check if the correct procedures have been followed.
- If you are still not happy then make an appointment to see the school's headteacher.
- If you are still not happy that everything is being done to help then write to the chair of governors to express your concerns.
What should you do if you think your child is bullying others?
- Don’t get angry, try to understand the reasons
- Find out what is happening
- Speak to staff at school about support they can offer
- You may wish to contact Family Lives website.
What other sources of information or support are there?