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Anti-bullying Resources and Why We Need Them


In this blog Maddie offers many valuable resources on what bullying is, how to prevent it and how to treat the involved children.

Unfortunately, bullying remains a key problem in schools in the UK and around the world. In fact, “there were over 24,000 Childline counselling sessions with children about bullying in 2016/17” and sadly, “more than 16,000 young people are absent from school due to bullying.” (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, 2017)

Despite these troubling statistics, our understanding of the causes and impact of bullying has improved significantly in the past decade as a result of new research into mental health, safeguarding issues and increased awareness of the issue.

I guess the first thing we need to do before trying to tackle bullying in schools is to understand what ‘bullying’ actually is - and that is more difficult than you might initially think. Surprisingly, there is no officially recognised definition of ‘bullying’ but according to the UK Government it can include behaviour that is:

• repeated
• intended to hurt someone either physically or emotionally
• often aimed at certain groups, for example because of race, religion, gender or sexual orientation

It takes many forms and can include:

• physical assault
• teasing
• making threats
• name calling
• cyberbullying - bullying via mobile phone or online (for example email, social networks and instant messenger) (Bullying at School, 2017)

I think that part of the reason why there isn’t a universally recognised definition is that the nature and methods of bullying are constantly developing and changing and therefore every case is unique to the individuals involved. Personally, I am grateful and relieved that I didn’t grow up in the world of pervasive mobile technology and the pressures of social media that our young people face today. Being a teenager is hard enough without the added pressure of presenting a perfect image on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr and Snapchat. Don’t get me wrong, online networking sites and technology can be really fun and enjoyable for kids (and even have some fantastic potential educational applications in the classroom), but it is scary how quickly harmless fun can turn into serious cyberbullying.

Cyber bullying is rife on the internet and most young people will experience it or witness it at some point. In our recent national bullying survey, 56% of young people said they have seen others being bullied online and 42% have felt unsafe online. Cyber bullying can be happening 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and it can go viral very fast. (What is Cyberbullying?, 2017)

Anti-Bullying Week 2017: All Different, All Equal

It is essential that all schools are equipped with the skills, strategies and protocols to deal with bullying, of all kinds, swiftly and effectively. In the UK all state schools are required to have an anti-bullying policy in place by law and must inform all teachers, pupils and parents of this policy. All schools must also follow anti-discrimination law and staff are obligated to act to prevent discrimination, harassment and victimisation within the school. (Bullying at School, 2017)

So, as a teacher, what can you do to prevent, identify and act on bullying in your school? Firstly, you must familiarise yourself with the anti-bullying policy of your school and endeavour to implement it wherever necessary. Some advice and strategies on your school’s anti-bullying policy as well as some useful strategies can be found on the ‘BullyingUK’. It is important to also realise that certain types of bullying can be serious enough to have legal implications and should be reported to the police including physical violence and assault, theft, repeated harassment or intimidation and hate crimes. (Bullying at School: The law, 2017)

Furthermore, during the next two weeks there are several initiatives and events being run by the fantastic organisations ‘Bullying UK’ and the ‘Anti Bullying Alliance’ aimed to educate and “shine a spotlight on bullying”. Last Friday we worn blue on Wear Blue Day and encouraged students and staff from schools, colleges, universities, individuals, organisations and businesses to do the same and donate to the cause. According to their website, Wear Blue Day is “a recognition of all those who have suffered from bullying or are experiencing it, to come together and stand up against bullying.”

November 13th-17th marks Anti-Bullying Week 2017 in the UK. The theme this year revolves around the idea of difference and equality in schools with the tag line ‘All Different, All Equal’. Schools are encouraged to get involved in the many events and activities being offered during the week and make use of the free downloadable resources including lesson plans and assembly ideas available on the website. The site provides resources for both Primary and Secondary school audiences.

Finally, there are many organisations specifically equipped to provide support, guidance and advice for staff, pupils and schools in regards to dealing with bullying. The UK Government recommends the following services:

• Anti-Bullying Alliance
• Bullying UK
• Childline
• The Diana Award
• Internet Matters
• Kidscape
• The UK Safer Internet Centre
• UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS)

As educators, it is our duty and privilege to ensure that our students feel safe in schools and that they are always treated with respect and kindness. So let’s begin by starting the conversation in our classrooms.


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