Bullying is an issue that is still very much present in schools throughout the UK. When a child is being bullied, this can often cause them to have a negative perception of school and education in general.
School, which should be a place of happiness and safety, becomes one of fear and dread. Teachers and Support Staff can provide a vital lifeline to children who are subject to bullying and help tackle the issue head on.
Here are some key steps you can take to help tackle bullying at your school:
1. Become informed
Bullying happens for a variety of reasons and comes in different forms, such as physical bullying and verbal bullying. Find out who in the school is being bullied and what kind of bullying they are being subjected to. Once you’ve got the basic awareness of what bullying is occurring, you will have the information you need to take the next steps.
2. Talk to victim(s) of bullying after school
Children who are being bullied often don’t know who or where to turn to for help. It’s important to let the child know – out of sight of the bullies – that you are aware of what is going on and that you are there to listen and support them. After school is a good time to set aside a quiet moment with the child to find out the nature of the bullying, how long it’s been going on for, and who they’ve talked to about it.
3. Involve parents of both children
Bullying can be a very isolating experience and it’s probable that the child hasn’t told their parents about it. Perhaps they are afraid or embarrassed. At this point, it would be a good opportunity to quietly inform their parents, so that they are at least aware and can provide necessary support at home. Additionally, talking to the parents of the child who is acting as the bully can ensure that you’ve got them on your side in tackling the issue.
4. Hold a meeting with the pupils
An important part of tackling the bullying issue is to bring together the children who are in conflict with one another. This is an opportunity to get both children to talk open and calmly together and ascertain the root cause of the bullying. The reasons for bullying can be complex and varied. A child might bully another child because it makes them look better to their friends or due to more deep-rooted behavioural issues. Use the meeting to ask questions of both parties and bring them to an agreeable solution.
5. Hold an assembly or workshop
A good way of tackling bullying in a more generalised way is to hold an assembly or bullying awareness workshop. A school or year group assembly presents the opportunity for you to show your awareness of bullying issues, whilst reinforce your school’s values and zero tolerance policy towards bullying. Alternatively, holding an awareness workshop might present the opportunity to deal with bullying in a more interactive way, with use of technology and/or guest speakers. You could do this in conjunction with bullying awareness days, Citizenship days or PSHE lessons.
6. Offer mentoring
Mentoring offers a valuable opportunity to provide one-to-one support with school bullies. By engaging with them on a mentor level, you have the chance to find out what’s going on for them, provide them with a positive role model and turn around their behaviour. If you are a member of support staff, this could be an ideal opportunity for you talk to your school and teachers about providing additional support in this area. Although this might be more time-consuming, it’s worthwhile exploring it as a long-term solution to tackling ongoing bullying issues at school.
Have you got any solutions that you’ve tried and tested with successful results? Share your thoughts and ideas in the comment box below!