Norfolk Children’s Services believes that every child deserves 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 causes pain and distress to the victim, and is an abuse of power where the bully thinks he or she is in control and the victim feels powerless.
Everyone – staff, pupils, parents/carers and members of the community – has a role to play to stop bullying.
Being a bully, or being bullied, can happen to anyone and can have long-term effects.
Bullying is often secretive and hidden and staff may not always be aware of it. If you think your child is being bullied it is important to talk to the staff in that setting as soon as possible. Schools and settings are keen to address bullying matters swiftly and take steps, with you, to sort it out.
- IMS (Instant Messaging Services)
- Chat rooms and Message Boards
- E mails
- Web cams
- Social network sites
- Virtual Learning Environments (VLE)
- Gaming sites, consoles and virtual world
- Changing their normal route to school
- Reluctant to go to school or regularly complaining of feeling ill each morning
- Returning home with unexplained scratches and bruises, or with damaged books and belongings
- Being unusually hungry when getting home from school, although they have been given packed lunch/dinner money
- Beginning to do poorly in school work for unexplained reasons
- Asking for unusual amounts of money or beginning to steal
- Closing down their computer when you walk in their room
- Changes in emotional state, such as crying, aggression, becoming withdrawn
- Refusing to say what’s wrong
- Starting to bully others
- Avoiding certain activities, for example, where pupils from school are involved
- Tell an adult
- Tell an older child
- Encourage the child to tell someone
- Show your disapproval to the bully
- Walk away and ignore the bullying
- Tell the bully to stop if it is safe to do so
- Go and get a group of mates to help you stop the bullying
- Form a friendship group for the person being bullied to make sure they are not isolated
- Changing schools
- Moving sets
- Starting a new subject
- Changing classrooms
- Changing class teacher
- Changing lunchtime arrangements
- Changing travel arrangements
- Take an active interest in your child’s school life and encourage them to develop friendships with others
- Children are influenced by the way their families behave, so try to set a good example through your own behaviour and encourage other family members to do the same
- Be alert to changes in your child’s behaviour, which may indicate that your child is being bullied or is bullying others
- Discuss your concerns with your child and contact the school (see How to recognise the signs of bullying)
Step one – talk to your child
- Listen – let them tell their story in their own way. Ask what they want to happen next. Find out how they are feeling and take seriously any threats of running away or suicide.
- Reassure them that telling you was the right thing to do.
- Stay calm – try not to overreact in front of your child, however angry you may feel. Try not to rush in and demand to see the headteacher/the bully/bully’s parents as it might be the very response your child was dreading. It could also stop them from saying more, which could make the situation worse. It is important to recognise that the school may be unaware of the situation as bullying is often secretive and hidden.
- Agree what you will do and ensure your child is clear what the next steps are. Keep them involved throughout.
- Keep a record – make a note of what your child says so you are clear about the details of the bullying, for example, who was involved, where and when it happened and how often. This evidence is vital when the bullies are being dealt with. ChildLine has a bullying diary that can be used for this purpose; a copy of this diary is at the end of this section.
- Maintain your child’s self-confidence by giving them opportunities to feel good about themselves and reminding them that you love them.
- Work together with the school to support your child. Make an appointment with your child’s class teacher to discuss what has happened and be as specific with details as possible. In secondary schools this may be the form tutor, head of year or head of house.
- Talk calmly and reasonably to the school about the problem. Remember that they may not be aware of the situation. Good communication is vital to find a solution. Agree on what to do, keep a record and make sure you explain to your child what is happening.
- Boost your child’s self-confidence and advise your child to be assertive rather than aggressive. Encourage them to tell adults in school if the bullying carries on.
- Avoid approaching another child or parent yourself and discourage bullying behaviour at home or elsewhere.
- Give you a copy of their anti-bullying policy which sets out how the school deals with bullying
- Give you a copy of the schools complaints procedure
- Take your concerns seriously
- Provide a safe learning environment where your child can achieve their potential
- Agree with you and your child about what they are doing to address the problem. If you think it may cause problems for your child and make the situation worse – say so
- Invest time and resources to deal with the problem
- Keep you fully informed of what action has been taken
- Make an appointment with the headteacher or a member of the senior management team to discuss your concerns and the actions the school has taken so far
- Ask to see a copy of their anti-bullying policy and discuss whether reasonable measures are being taken to address the problem.
- Ask them to make a record of the meeting and make sure you get a copy
- Talk to the Police about problems on local streets (if necessary seek police presence at trouble spots)
- Talk to the headteacher of another school whose pupils are involved in the bullying
- Map safe routes to schools and tell pupils about them
- Talk to pupils about how to avoid or handle bullying outside the school premises.
- Don’t panic
- Find out from the school and your child exactly what has been going on – this will give you a clearer picture of the problem
- Ask your child if there is a reason for their behaviour. It is worth bearing in mind that children can act out their aggressive feelings if something is troubling them or they are going through a difficult time either at home or at school
- Explain that bullying and making others unhappy is unacceptable. Your child needs to get a clear message from you that you disapprove of their behaviour
- Discuss with your child and school staff different ways of behaving and mixing with other children
- Children are influenced by the way their families behave, so try to set a good example through your own behaviour and encourage other family members to do the same
- Give praise and encouragement when your child is being kind to other people and try to create opportunities for them to do something well. By making life better for themselves they may not need to pick on others
Cyberbullying is the use of Information Communications Technology (ICT), particularly mobile phones and the internet, deliberately to upset someone else. It differs from other forms of bullying as one incident can be classed as bullying (the usual definition for face to face bullying is that it has to happen more than once). There also is not necessarily a power imbalance and some research evidence suggests that many children, who are bullied face to face in school, may use cyber bullying as a way of getting back to those who have bullied them. This means that sometimes the profile of the bully and target are different to face to face bullying. Click here for further information about the differences between cyberbullying and face to face bullying.
Being aware of potential difficulties and trying to address these as a parent may help to prevent your child being cyberbullied.
Be aware of what cyberbullying is and how it can happen. If you feel confused about how to advise your child on cyberbullying Childnet offers information on a free ‘Know it all’ DVD that can help inform you about the internet and keeping your child safe. Click here for a free booklet that accompanies the DVD. Childnet also offers further information and resources, which you can print off for your child. For a list of more useful websites, scroll to the bottom of this page.
Encourage positive use of technology by helping your child to use it to support learning, socialise with peers and explore the wider world. Discuss and promote ‘netiquette’ – responsible online behaviour – and reward your child for this. Tell them this means:
- Respect others online – treat them how you would want to be treated
- Only post or write things online and in text messages that you’d be happy for anyone to see (Think before you send!)
- Use appropriate language when chatting or playing games online
- Pay close attention to a website’s terms and conditions and make sure you’re old enough to be using a site or online service.
With your children, explore the online technologies and websites that they like to use.
Support your child in making responsible decisions on the internet and when using a mobile phone – make sure they are aware of the types of photos and other content that are appropriate to post online (e.g. no photos in a school blazer or sports uniform).
Be aware that your child could also be involved in cyberbullying. Be alert to changes in your child’s behaviour – especially after using the internet or their mobile phone. Discuss the emotional impact of bullying on another person.
- Make sure they stick to moderated chat rooms
- Encourage your children to keep passwords safe. Tell them to ‘Treat your password like your toothbrush – don’t share it with anyone!’
- Encourage them to be careful about who they give their phone number and e-mail address to and to never leave their mobile lying around
Agree on family rules and procedures about what to do if someone is being cyberbullied such as saving the message or text as evidence and telling a trusted adult. Tell them the bullying usually stops when they tell other people about it.
Responding to cyberbullying
When a child is the target of cyberbullying, they can feel alone and misunderstood. It is therefore vital that, as a parent or carer, you know how to support your child if they are caught up in cyberbullying.
- Support and encourage your child if they tell you they’ve been cyberbullied – reassure them that it’s not their fault and that they’ve made the right choice by reporting it to you. Tell them that bullying is not acceptable and inform them of what you will do next by following the tips below.
- Abusive e-mails or text messages will usually stop if there is no response to them. Make sure your child does not retaliate or reply to cyberbullying messages of any kind no matter how abusive. If they continue help your child to save the evidence of cyberbullying. Use online tools or the ‘print screen’ button on your computer and don’t delete text messages on a mobile phone. The service providers should have a number that you can ring to report abusive messaging. Evidence can be shared with your school and if necessary, the Police.
- If the cyberbullying is on a school or community website report it immediately to school staff.
- If you need to, you can help your child to change their contact details (email, online username, mobile phone number) to prevent further bullying. Denying them access to the technology is not the answer.
- Use the security tools on your family’s computer or websites or on your child’s mobile phone.
- If the bullying or abuse starts in a chat room, encourage your children to leave immediately and tell you – you can then contact the moderator or site manager.
- Report cyberbullying. You can report the incident to your child’s school, the website or service provider, and in serious cases the police.
Part of this is taken from ‘Cyberbullying: advice for parents and carers’ Anti-Bullying Alliance pack for schools 2009
Useful websites for parents/carers and their children
Childnet – a range of resources on technology for children and young people, their families and teachers (www.childnet-int.org)
CEOP (Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre) – a website that informs parents and adults on how to protect children online. There are a range of useful resources including films. Visit CEOP Centre’s online safety site at www.thinkuknow.co.uk for advice and tips for children, adults and professionals of all ages.
Chatdanger – a website that informs about potential dangers online, including bullying, and advice on how to stay safe while chatting (www.chatdanger.com)
Bullying UK – practical help on all aspects of cyberbullying for pupils and parents. User friendly and regularly updated site (www.bullying.co.uk)
Kidsmart –provides resources including lesson plans, leaflets, posters and games (www.kidsmart.org.uk)
Tel. 0344 800 8020
Tel: 01603 727890/1
Tel: 01603 704070
Tel: 01603 747471
Tel: 01603 611644
Tel: 0808 800 5793
Tel: 08088 020 008 for advice on Child Law and 0845 3454345 for community advice
Tel: 08451 205 204
Tel: 0808 800 2222
Tel: 0800 1111
Willy the Wimp by Anthony Browne
A & C Black (2009)
Specially written for 9 – 13 year olds, this book faces the issues around bullying, prompts thinking about situation and experiences and offers support in finding appropriate ways of taking control.
Mum isn't happy - she thinks Tanya's a BAD GIRL and a bad influence. Mandy's sure Tanya can only get her out of trouble, not into it... or could she?
paperback, Hachette Children's Books (2006)
Jenny Alexander's approach is to develop readers' psychological defences. Through an entertaining mix of exercises, quizzes and fictional scenarios, she combines common sense with simple cognitive therapy techniques, to build up children's self esteem. Her tone is humorous and upbeat, but always sensitive to the reader's feelings. This new, updated edition takes account of recent technologies such as texting, MSN and bluejacking, which are increasingly abused by bullies.
Offers advice on self-assertiveness, making friends and dealing successfully with bullies. Contains real-life examples and quotes from celebrities who were once victims. It also offers advice to bullies.
- Support young people to have a voice
- Liaise with organisations and schools (parents)
- Provide information to families and other organisations on children with ASD
- Disseminate good practice, exemplar materials and guidance at Network Meetings
- Preventative work through the dissemination of SEAL
- To raise awareness of cyberbullying with schools to ensure children are adopting safe practices when using ICT for learning
- Request that the strategy is included on our intranet site ‘Linx’ for all clinicians to view questions around bullying to be asked at initial assessments. Paperwork to be altered to facilitate this
- Staff training on anti-bullying developments – to be explored through ‘safeguarding’ panels
- Information/advice in waiting area
- Ensure all young people accessing the Connexions service are aware of the anti-bullying information, support and guidance we can offer and actively promote the campaign via the Connexions centres
- Contribute to Anti Bullying week by incorporating new initiatives and ideas in to the planning strategy and participating in Anti Bullying week activities via the Connexions centres
- Produce a leaflet for young people making the transition in to FE or employment to educate them on how bullying translates in to post 16 environments and how to deal with it
- Explain to pupils how to stay safe on-line during our first contact with them at their induction
- Publicise and put into practice our ‘Anti-bullying’ policy across the Service
- Act swiftly when we are told of any cyberbullying incidents and monitor pupil forums to spot these
- Encourage all schools to sign up to achieve National Healthy School Status
- Ensure all participating schools have an up-to-date fully functioning policy in order to meet the criteria for Emotional Health and Well-being
- Provide ongoing support to schools to enable them to develop an anti-bullying culture
- Adopt the Norfolk County Council policy
- Include anti-bullying in our induction process
- Encourage the Provider trusts that we commission children’s services from to engage with the Norfolk Anti-Bullying strategy by including reference to it in relevant service specifications
- To actively engage with children and young people to determine the best way the Norfolk Constabulary can support them once a report of bullying has been made to us
- To ensure wherever possible that when a child or young person is the victim of a bullying incident that is reported to us we ensure that Norfolk Victim Support is alerted
- To ensure that where appropriate restorative approaches are considered as a method to reduce the harm caused to the victim and reduce the likelihood of a repeat by the person causing the harm
- Inform schools of the latest DCSF Guidance (i.e. Safe to Learn: Embedding anti-bullying work in schools, Racist bullying, Homophobic bullying, Cyberbullying and SEN and Disability bullying) via School Support Team meetings or other meetings. Encourage schools to update their policies using the DCSF Guidance and use Anti-Bullying Policy checklist
- Provide advice, guidance and, where relevant, training to support those who are bullied and those who bully
- Provide guidance to parents/carers who complain to Customer Services, County Hall, of alleged bullying of their child
- Support young people to access the Central Area Youth Work project called ‘Youth Fix’ which provides tone to one support for young people
- Within all of the Central Area Youth Work Team’s projects we will ensure all of our youth work staff are equipped to challenge any bullying and/or oppressive behaviours
- Youth workers will support young people to respect each other by informally educating them and providing a safe space for young people to ‘hang out’ in and to explore coping strategies in
- Recruit parents/carers to attend the Norfolk Anti-Bullying Forum
- Support the Norfolk Anti-Bullying Forum to further consider what they want to know from parents and carers
- Support the further gathering of views of parents and carers to inform activity
- Ensure every school, who has a child with a moderate, severe or profound hearing loss on its roll, has a copy of the NDCS guidelines ‘Bullying and deaf children’
- Ensure the ‘Anti-bullying’ notice board is kept up-to-date in the office and all staff are alerted when new information is placed on it
- Acknowledge the findings from the Enlighten Peer Research Project and support the recommendations in the Action Plan, in particular points 20-23 relating to bullying
- Champion the Norfolk Anti-Bullying Strategy by actively promoting it in all schools with looked after children on roll and encourage them to have an anti-bullying policy and celebrate best practice
- Commission research through the newly formed Virtual School Council relating to anti-bullying strategies in Norfolk and how successful our looked after children feel these are. Use the VS Council to look for new ways of getting the message across to young people
- Will actively promote the Norfolk Anti-bullying strategy within the voluntary youth sector in Norfolk
- Will encourage voluntary sector groups to sign up to the strategy
- Include this in our Youthkit publication
- Communicate the Norfolk Anti-Bullying Strategy to partners
- Continue to have ‘anti-bullying’ as a scenario at Crucial Crew events
- Promote anti-bullying as part of our education delivery
- Continue to support anti-bullying initiatives as and when they occur
- Support and advise parents of children with SEN
- Send useful/helpful information.
- Refer to other agencies/helplines
- Regularly review the Cultural Services Safeguarding Children, Young Adults and Vulnerable Adults Policy, and the Library and Information Service “Making Libraries a Safe and Welcoming Place” Guidelines and update if necessary
- Contact all libraries to promote the National Anti-Bullying Alliance Campaign in November
- Promote the Anti-bullying strategy to our partner agencies
- Publicise the Anti-bullying strategy on our website
- Ensure that bullying remains a key part of the staying safe agenda
- Link to the Anti-bullying website from NGN website
- Include regular reminders about the Norfolk Anti-bullying strategy in NGN news
- As individual governors, ensure anti-bullying policies and procedures are embedded in our schools and ensure our governing bodies monitor and evaluate these
- In all areas of work with young people we will challenge any form of intimidatory behaviour
- Deliver anti-bullying presentations in Norfolk schools and anti-bullying week
- Participate and contribute to anti-bullying meetings/initiatives in Norfolk and with other agencies to implement them. Helping to ensure Norfolk children are able to staying safe, be healthy, enjoy and achieve, make a positive contribution (4 every child matters outcome)
- All Council staff to be briefed on the issues of bullying and aims and objectives of the anti-bullying strategy
- Through the Safer Parks Initiative, neighbourhood wardens, parks and open spaces officers and other staff to be proactive in ensuring that the City’s parks and open spaces are a safe and bully free environment to play
- The Council’s neighbourhood’s staff that are most likely to come into contact with bullying and were it is observed be required to report it to the Neighbourhood Wardens or Safer Neighbourhood Teams for appropriate action. More serious occurrences will be reported through the Council’s safeguarding procedures
- Deliver the “Respectful Relationships” Programme in primary schools
- In terms of anti-bullying and work: raise awareness of the incidence and impact of domestic violence and the importance of understanding this
- In work with individual children and young people who have experienced domestic abuse, we help them to explore their feelings, build self-esteem and deal with anger and acceptable behaviours
- Continue to support Anti-Bullying Strategy (including Anti-Bullying week)
- Support and mediate parental complaints (the process)
- Continue to offer support to families of vulnerable groups of children and young people and to monitor numbers (to possibly identify whole school cluster issues)
- Draw up an anti-bullying policy
- Actively promote the Norfolk Anti-Bullying Strategy to our staff
- Ensure all our staff involved in play or leisure work with young people are trained and equipped to challenge bullying and/or oppressive behaviour
- Will ensure wherever possible that, when a child or young person is the victim of a bullying incident that is reported to us, we will alert Children’s Services
- Give presentation in schools to raise the awareness of bullying
- Support victims of bullying
- Support Norfolk Anti-bullying week and the anti-bullying forum
- Make teachers more aware
- Discuss some of resources with anti-bullying group
- Use the DVD for form
- Continue use of bullying box.
- Continue use of mentors for reporting/discussing problems with
- Update our anti-bullying strategy using school council and peer supporters
- Introduce SEAL across whole school
- Build upon the initial success of our peer support scheme
- Run annual anti-bullying month (January)
- Issue Anti-Bullying leaflet to parents
- Publish anti-bullying information as separate section on school website
- Provide a named person for children to go to
- Extend activities for anti-bullying week – each class present a ‘something’ for special assembly; whole school poster competition
- Revise anti-bullying policy with input from school council and definitions from each keystage included
- Peer mentoring
- Have a named Anti-Bullying Coordinator
- Involving children more - year round approach
- Review the school’s current Anti-bullying Policy in the light of new guidance
- Ensure that a student friendly version is available on the school’s intranet
- Develop the anti-bullying role of the peer support team
- Revised anti-bullying policy with school council
- Hold a parents forum to clarify definition of bullying and to educate parents on how to deal with problems associated with bullying, both in and out of school
- Continue to develop SEAL curriculum, to promote anti-bullying work within the school
- Get pupils to produce bullying hot spot maps for the school grounds and building
- ‘Train’ pupils in the use of ‘fogging’ and ‘I’ language
- Have special assemblies in anti-bullying week and review anti-bullying policy
- Produce business cards for all our pupils with advice on how to deal with bullying, posters around the school and a school website
- Support the introduction of a peer-mentoring scheme to help pupils that are being bullied and a telephone number through which pupils can report incidents of bullying
- Bookmarks which will be handed out by the library when pupils take out books
- Include discussions with our pupils as part of our ‘Safeguarding Children’ week
- Put forward our recently written Bullying Policy to staff and governors for consultation
- Set up a pupil nominated method of making staff aware of their ‘worrier’
- Produce a guidance booklet for parents, in consultation with them
- Update the leaflet produced for children by the School Council to include cyberbullying in all its forms
- Ensure cyberbullying is addressed and included in work on anti-bullying throughout the school
- Launch “Talk to Taylor” project to provide support for students who do not feel comfortable talking to staff
- Involve students in consultation process to update all of our anti-bullying policies
- Devise strategies to better educate parents on what consists of bullying and how they can help
- Provide information and training on cyberbullying for parents and families
- Develop a more consistent restorative approach throughout the school
- Review the impact our policy has had and adapt accordingly
- Develop anti-bullying signs for display around the school
- Introduce SEAL throughout the school
- Initiate a play leaders and playtime monitors programme
- A new web page detailing the support on offer from Peer Supporters with links to websites and anti-bullying strategies
- A leaflet will be given to all new students with information about Peer Support and the service they provide
- A new advertising campaign to promote anti-bullying
- Participate in anti-bullying week each November
- Standing item on staff meeting agenda
- Encourage children to tell a member of staff if they feel they are being bullied they think others are being bullied
- Introduced the SEAL curriculum
- Train Year 6 as playground buddies
- Ensure we review our anti-bullying policy annually
- Work in each class to look at definitions and what can be done
- Run a series of Assemblies on Bullying, to include the MENCAP ‘Don’t Stick it, Stop it’ short films (interactive)
- Further enhance the whole school ‘zero-tolerance’ approach to dealing with bullying. Empower all children with strategies
- Agree (in a ‘so what’ manner) – e.g. ‘Yes, I do like maths’, ‘Yeah, I smell’, ‘Yep, you’re right, I am an idiot’
- Disagree – e.g. ‘No, I’m not a grass’, ‘No, I didn’t give you a dirty look’, ‘No, I won’t give you my phone’
- Compliment yourself with an opposite – e.g. ‘No, I’m not stupid, I’m actually pretty smart’, ‘No, I’m not a weirdo, I’m just too cool for you to understand’, ‘I’m not a freak, I‘m unique’
- Agree, but – e.g. ‘Yes, I know I’m not cool but I am happy the way I am’, ‘Yes, I know I’ve been upset lately, but I’m working on it’, ‘Yeah, my trainers are rubbish, but I can’t afford anything else’
- Humour - ‘I’m not stylish enough to be gay’, ‘I’d love to be perfect like you but it’s just not happening is it?’, ‘I know I’m ugly, thank God for plastic surgery, right?’
- Broken record – e.g. I’d like my bag back please … I’d like my bag back please … I’d like my …’, ‘Can you leave me alone please … Can you leave me alone please … Can you …’, I’m not listening to you … I’m not listening to you …’