It’s Anti-Bullying Week next week (12th-16th November). Are you supporting it?
Organised by Anti-Bullying Alliance, this year’s theme for the annual awareness week is ‘Choose Respect’.
To support the event, on the first day of Anti-Bullying Week, everyone is encouraged to wear odd socks. On the 15th November, the first ever ‘Stop Speak Support’ cyberbullying day will also be held.
The aim of the week is to support schools and other settings to help children and young people, school staff, parents and other professionals who work with children.
To support primary and secondary schools during Anti-Bullying Week, a range of lesson and assembly plans, cross curricular ideas, films to show and other resources have been developed and they can accessed for free here.
According to the Childline 2016-17 annual review, bullying is in the top three concerns young people were counselled about when contacting Childline; it accounted for 9% of all counselling sessions – 24,571 of them. In fact, pupils aged 11 and under say bullying is their major concern.
It’s not just physical bullying either; it’s cyber bullying too. According to the national bullying survey, 56% of young people said they have seen others be bullied online and 42% have felt unsafe online.
If you’re concerned that pupils you work with may be being bullied, then we’ve put together advice on how to manage bullying in a school environment.
- Identify bullying. Bullying is not always in the most obvious of forms. It doesn’t have to be physical – it can take many forms, including intimidation, threats and exclusion. The rise of smartphones and internet use means that cyberbullying is a growing issue, too.
- Know the policies. Your orientation pack should include the school’s anti-bullying policy. This may be included in the behaviour policy if not in its own right. If you haven’t received one, ask your point of contact with the school or the school office. If you see something that you’re not equipped to respond directly to, always ensure that it is reported to the appropriate persons.
- Watch diligently. We know it’s impossible to have your eyes on everybody at all times but be sure to keep your eye out for any suspect behaviours. Anything that is repeated, not a one-off occasion, should be reported and immediately addressed.
- Talk to pupils. Remember that there is often an underlying reason for children to be acting out – raising your voice may just be a trigger for worse behaviours. Always try to deescalate/diffuse a situation as amicably as possible. The victims of bullying can also be looking for somebody to talk to, and an external supply teacher can be the perfect candidate for a pupil stuck in a negative cycle. Be who you would have liked to speak to at school.
- Acknowledge positive behaviours. Encourage positive connections among children by praising respectful and cooperative behaviour when you see it. It can feel frustrating if you’re only in a school for half a day, as though you’re not making an impact even, but remember that one lesson can be a massive respite.
- Use residential learning to encourage young people to bond. Residentials can provide opportunities for students to develop new relationships through working with a wide range of staff and young people outside their normal peer groups. Research has shown that involving children and young people in residential experiences can lead to significantly enhanced relationships with both staff and peers as well as enhanced resilience, confidence and wellbeing. Discover more about the impact of Learning Away residentials here.
Remember that keeping your cool in the classroom is key in managing behaviour as a whole. An unruly class is more likely to have the opportunity to engage in bullying. One of PK’s guest bloggers, Naomi Lowe offers her advice on managing classroom behaviour here.