1st November 2022
Anti-Bullying Week – Reach Out
It’s ANTI-BULLYING WEEK, Tackling bullying in schools requires a team effort, including everyone from the Senior Leadership Team to Teaching Assistants.
Anti-Bullying Week 2022 takes place from the 14th to the 18th of November this year’s theme is ‘reach out’. At Engage, we’re taking this opportunity to let our teachers and support staff know how they can refine their approach to tackling bullying at school. This includes knowing what steps to take if a pupil is being bullied, ensuring your pupils know what to do if they are being bullied, and how to deal with anyone who bullies.
What is bullying?
Any repeated behaviour which is intended to hurt someone either emotionally or physically can be defined as bullying. Though many times it is not clear why a child has been singled out as a target to bully, sometimes bullying is aimed at certain people because of their race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, appearance, or disability.
What are the effects of bullying?
Bullying can make pupils depressed and anxious, causing them to withdraw from the people around them, or act out in anger or aggression in other areas of their life. Bullying can even cause pupils to partake in self-harming behaviours, develop an eating disorder, exacerbate existing mental or physical health problems, or to have thoughts of – or even attempt – suicide.
With these effects of bullying in mind, it is extremely worrying that BullyingUK has found that 81% of young people have experienced name-calling, and 50% have been bullied because of their appearance. 68% of young people have said that bullying has had a huge impact on their self-esteem, and 70% feel that it has left them angry or aggressive.
What can I do to stop bullying?
What you can do to stop bullying depends on how you are made aware that someone is being bullied. You may either witness an instance of bullying or be told that bullying (or a pattern of bullying) has taken place. There are also things that teachers and support staff can do to prevent future bullying from taking place.
Reach out – 2022
This year’s theme is intended to empower both teachers and students to reach out and do something positive to counter the hurt and harm that bullying causes people. Reaching out to people and talking about issues is one of the main ways to stop bullies.
If you witness bullying
- Stop the bullying immediately. Stand between the bullied pupil and the one doing the bullying, ensuring you have blocked eye contact. To avoid escalating tension, wait until later to sort out the facts. Talk to the parties involved separately once they are calm.
- Don’t send bystanders away. Instead, offer guidance to bystanders by letting them know how they might appropriately intervene or get help if they witness bullying again. Tell them whether you’re disappointed by their inaction, or alternatively, if you see that they tried to help.
If you learn that bullying has taken place
- Find out what happened. If a child comes to you to report that they are being bullied, the first thing you need to do to support them is to find out what happened. Is the pupil being bullied because of their race or disability? Was it verbal, physical, or online? If the bullying was physical, for example, you may need to make sure the child does not have any injuries that need to be treated urgently.
- Refer to your school’s bullying policy. Consistency in how bullying is tackled throughout the school is paramount to bullying being stopped. Pupils should be aware of the policies concerning their behaviour, and what actions will be taken if they display undesired behaviour.
- Listen to the pupil. Above all, in a situation where a pupil has disclosed bullying to you, let them talk to you and ensure you treat them with respect and empathy. Avoid accusations of “telling tales” or trying to “see things from the other side” – there will be time to find out all the facts later.
To prevent bullying
- Let pupils be a part of the process. When pupils are involved in the formation and implementation of school policy, they take ownership of the rules and are more likely to follow them and encourage their peers to do the same.
- Avoid labels. Don’t label a pupil who has bullied another as “a bully”, as this will instil the label as an identity within the pupil, rather than encouraging them to change and grow.
- Make a school-wide conversation. Hold assemblies about bullying, put up posters, and speak to your class(es) about bullying, including how to spot it, and the effects it can have on those who participate, witness or are on the receiving end of it.
Anti-Bullying Week 2022 at your school
- The Anti-Bullying Alliance has collated a variety of school packs and other resources which are free for schools to use to educate their pupils during Anti-Bullying Week and beyond. See a list of resources here.
- Family Lives have also made available a variety of free resources to combat bullying in Anti-Bullying Week 2022, including assembly presentations, posters, flashcards, and more.
- Ditch the Label is an international anti-bullying organisation which has a selection of engaging lesson plans and free resources about bullying for a range of age groups and abilities, covering a variety of topics, including gender, cyberbullying and mental health.
- There’s a fantastic article on Twinkl about Anti-Bullying week and all the ways that schools can implement successful anti-bullying strategies
The Anti-Bullying Alliance runs a School Staff Award, which encourages pupils to nominate teachers and school staff in England who have gone above and beyond to prevent and respond to bullying and to raise awareness of bullying in school.
Encouraging your school’s pupils to take part before next year’s awareness week will add extra accountability to the staff at your school to pay more attention to bullying throughout the year.
Fundraising and awareness
The Anti-Bullying Alliance also run ‘Odd Socks Day’, which is an opportunity to encourage pupils and teachers to express and celebrate their individuality by wearing odd socks. The charity suggests a £1 donation from participants, but state that “the most important thing is the message of Odd Socks Day’.
BullyingUK has launched their #ChooseKindness campaign for this year’s Anti-Bullying Week, asking schoolchildren to “choose kindness” by giving positive words to their fellow pupils.
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