Speaking in the House of Commons at the start of Anti Bullying Week (14th – 18th November 2016), Minister of State for Children and Families, Edward Timpson has commented on the prevention of bullying within schools and the £4.4 million being spent on charity intervention within schools.
The Minister told fellow MPs during a debate on the 14th November that ChildLine is, currently receiving more and more calls in relation to bullying. In ChildLine’s 2015-16 Annual Review, it recorded some worrying statistics:
- 25,000 young people needed counselling in the UK related to being bullied on and offline.
- Children needing counselling regarding problems at school increased by 12% since last year.
- Pupils, 11 and under, put bullying as their major concern. In the past year, 24% of calls from students that are 11 and under to ChildLine was regarding being bullied.
Justine Greening, Secretary of State for Education has recently assisted with the release of an app that will allow children to access and report bullying to their school, called Tootoot. This is in the newly appointed Minister’s plan to tackle bullying and online bullying by investing £4.4 million in charities and prevention methods for bullying.
Here are PK Education’s top 10 tips for helping supply staff manage this behaviour in the classroom and help you gain control and thrive in any classroom.
1. Know what bullying is – It often takes the form of threats, intimidation, repeated cruelty and/or forcing someone against his or her will to do what the bully wants. Bullying isn’t just face-to-face, the six most common types of bullying in schools are: physical, verbal, relational aggression, cyberbullying, sexual bullying, and prejudicial bullying.
2. Follow the school’s anti-bullying policy – If you don’t already have a copy of the school’s anti-bullying policy in your orientation pack, then make sure you ask the school office, or relevant person, for a copy as soon as you arrive at the school.
3. Set ground rules – Let pupils know your bullying policy a soon as you enter the classroom and make clear what happens if they bully a fellow pupil.
4. Supervise – Watch your class like a hawk! Always notice body language or a change in this. By keeping a diligent watch over pupils, you may be able to put a stop to any bullying incidents before they have a chance to flare up.
5. Confront pupils engaged in bullying in a firm but fair manner – When a teacher communicates to the class that bullying will not be tolerated and then intervenes quickly and consistently whenever he or she observes bullying taking place, it sends a clear message to pupils that bullying will not be tolerated.
6. Acknowledge positive behaviours – You can encourage positive connections among children by praising respectful and cooperative behaviour whenever you see it. The more you praise a behaviour, the more often it will happen. Children love praise and they will work hard to get it from you. Try and focus on the positives of your pupils, even when they need correcting. Remember, children are works in progress— they can’t be perfect.
7. Trust your instincts – If you suspect that a student is being bullied, you’re probably right. Children will often deny bullying out of shame or fear. If it looks like bullying and feels like bullying, it most likely is, even if students deny it. Trust your instincts and intervene.
8. Minimise opportunities for bullying – Organise activities so that the child who is being bullied is always surrounded by children who will stand up for him/her. How do you do this? Teachers should always select children’s teams, groups and seating arrangements. If children are allowed to make these decisions, those pupils who are bullied will always be left out and teased. Break up groups of children who may act aggressively together.
9. Be ready to listen and help – If a pupil reports being bullied, be ready to listen right away. Don’t put it off. Thank the child for having the courage to come forward and explain that it is his/ her right to feel safe. Ask for details about the incident and convey your concern. Be willing to respond to all reports, even the seemingly trivial ones such as name-calling. Consistency matters!
10. Encourage children to report – Convey the message that it is the teacher’s job to deal with bullying and that you want to know about all incidents. Clarify the difference between tattling and telling: Tattling is what you do to get someone into trouble, telling is what you do to get someone out of trouble. Providing alternative ways to report bullying at school, such as an anonymous bullying box, can help reduce the discomfort children feel around reporting bullying.