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Bullying is defined as: “behaviour by an individual or a group, repeated over time that intentionally hurts another individual or group, either physically or emotionally”. Bullying can take on many forms and be motivated by prejudice such as race, religion, gender, and sexual orientation. It is also particularly common amongst vulnerable children and those with SEND.

It is the job of teachers and the school to identify bullying, judge the severity and decide what necessary actions need to take place to resolve it, as in certain situations, children engaging in bullying may also be victims themselves.

According to the Annual Bullying Survey 2016 compiled by Ditch the Label, 1.5 million young people (50%) have been bullied within the past year, 33% of those being bullied have suicidal thoughts and over 40% developed a mental health problem as a result.

So it’s time to say no to the suffering of school children across the uk and tackle bullying today, and here’s how…

Section 89 of the Education and Inspections Act 2006 says that schools must have measures to encourage good behaviour and prevent bullying amongst pupils. It should be part of the schools behavioural policy (If only it were that simple).

Firstly, schools should have anti-bullying policies in place. Although they may not work to tackle bullying entirely, it is an effective way to outline to students what is expected of them and what will and will not be tolerated. All students should understand the school’s policies and be clear about the role they play and the consequences of not following them.

These policies must be evaluated, communicated and updated regularly to ensure maximum impact and success. If you notice that bullying is an arising problem in your school, it may be time to revisit the policies you have in place and try a different approach.

School staff should develop strategies to prevent bullying in the first place by gathering information about pupils which could provoke conflict. The best way to do this is to get to know your students. Observe them and see if you can identify and note any triggers that may cause this behaviour to the surface.

As the majority of bullying cases are due to difference, teachers should raise the topic in lessons and teach how differences in pupils should be appreciated rather than hated.

Schools should also apply disciplinary measures and consider the factors behind the bullying in order to take stricter measures to not only stop but identify and prevent bullying.

It is vital for the school to get parents involved in order to assist in the prevention of bullying. Make sure the parents know the school’s policies and how they must ensure their child/children respect them or else disciplinary action will be taken.Parents should also let children know that bullying outside of school will not be tolerated and just like in school, there will be consequences at home.

Effective staff training should be provided so teachers know how to deal with victims of bullies and with bullies themselves.  The Education Act 2011 gives teachers the power to tackle cyber bullying by giving them the permission to search and delete inappropriate images on any electronic devices.

An inclusive environment should be created for victims of bullying to feel safe. Schools should also make it easier for students to report bullying. For example using a safeguarding platform such as tootoot that allows students to anonymously report any concerns they have 24/7.

The final and most important point is the community, as well as the parents, schools and teachers should be fully educated on bullying. It can be surprising how many are oblivious to the serious effects of bullying. This can be done through assemblies, fliers, or even video blogs but it is important that all are informed.

If you’re struggling with ideas on how to do this, why not take advantage of our anti-bullying initiative which has gone from strength to strength since its launch last year!

Our cuddly, campaign mascot Buddy has visited a range of schools for assemblies, to reward classes and whole school initiatives and experience proves that Buddy is a great way to launch your very own scheme and also to reward excellent work and ideas by pupils and anti-bullying advocates in schools.

Alongside Buddy, we also provide free resources, including our school information pack here which has been compiled using national guidance from key organisations including Ofsted, Kidscape and Bullying UK.

Buddy is currently available in Barnsley, Durham, Hull, Leeds and Newcastle only. Discover more about our anti-bullying initiative here