Every child has a right to learn in a safe environment, free from harassment and bullying.
Bullying is something we all need to take very seriously. It is a deliberately hurtful act, which is repeated often, over a period of time. It might be helpful to remember the STOP acronym:
Bullying causes pain and distress to the victim . Bullies find ways to control others and the targets of bullying feel powerless to change the situation or defend themselves.
Bullying can have a long-term effect on educational, emotional and social development.
There are four main types of bullying:
- Physical – eg hitting, kicking, pushing, spitting, taking possessions
- Verbal – eg name calling, persistent teasing, mocking, taunting, making abusive comments or threats
- Indirect – eg spreading nasty stories
- Cyber – eg sending texts, emails or social network messages that are threatening and/or intended to cause offence, anxiety or humiliation
- Emotional – eg excluding, tormenting, ridiculing, humiliation, setting people up and spreading rumours
Everyone – staff, pupils, parents/carers and members of the community – has a role to play to stop bullying. We know that children with SEN or disabilities are much more likely to be bullied than other children, so it is very important to be alert for any signs that bullying is taking place.
Signs of bullying
Parents might notice that their children are:
- Changing their normal route to school
- Reluctant to go to school or regularly complaining of feeling ill each morning
- Asking for unusual amounts of money or beginning to steal
- Returning home with unexplained scratches and bruises, or with damaged books and belongings
- Unusually hungry when getting home from school, although they have been given school lunch money
What you should do
If parents notice any of these it may mean there is bullying going on. Or there may be a different explanation. Either way, if you are concerned, ask your child directly about it.
If you still have concerns talk to your child’s key person (ages 0-5), class teacher or form tutor (11-16), form tutor, teacher or lecturer (16-25).
You can also ask Norfolk SEND Partnership for advice.
For information and guidance on what parents/carers can do to help and what you can expect from the early years setting or school, visit the bullying section of our website.