We recently asked Dave Harris of NUSA for his thoughts on addressing bullying in schools. (We had been asked about this for our work in Chile where the government has just introduced a rule whereby schools can be fined if they don’t address bullying.)
This is his off-the-top-of-his-head-but-pretty-good-all-the-same-we-think viewpoint complete with a six-point plan:

All schools have bullying – anyone who claims they don’t is fooling themselves!

Step 1 Ensure the adults are not behaving in a bullying way to each other or to pupils. Kids learn bullying behaviours from adults

Step 2 Talk about it in assemblies and staff meetings. Humans have a tendency for bullying! Have a poster campaign in school

Step 3 Create a climate where people feel safe talk about it

Step 4 Form a group of pupil peer mentors (and train them adequately). Pupils are more likely to talk to people of their own age. Ensure pupils know where and how to contact peer mentors. This could be a private room or a message box at school reception

Step 5  Once any bullying is reported act very quickly. Nipping it in the bud is essential. Then make sure you follow up and monitor over the following week, repeatedly

Step 6 Have ‘bully’ and ‘bullied’ meet in a controlled way. Ensure both sides have an understanding of their actions – often the bully may feel bullied themselves

In my view vertical mentoring helps break bullying up – I see examples of success regularly!

Cyber-bullying is often just an extension of real bullying. Use ‘printscreen’ to get evidence – it has an advantage that you can ‘see the bullying’

And don’t hesitate to threaten legal outcomes for the bully…

It’s not rocket science and there’s no magic wand but schools can address this awful practice if they really want to.

Let us know how you get on

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