What Are UK Schools Doing About Bullying
Schools are obliged to provide a safe environment for their pupils, encourage good behaviour and prevent/deal with bullying. Different schools use different approaches to the problem of bullying and they are achieving different levels of success in both prevention and intervention.
Anti-Bullying Policies in UK Schools
UK school officials are aware of the problem of bullying among children and that prevention is the best way to deal with the issue. Unfortunately, most preventive measures such as talking about bullying with the pupils and including the issue into lessons have been shown to achieve only a limited success and that bullying in UK schools continues. Some of the most commonly used methods to help bullying victims and prevent bullying from continuing include:
“No-blame” method. This method involves a separate meeting with the victim of bullying who is asked to express his or her feelings about it through drawing or writing. Then, a group meeting is held between a teacher and the pupils including the bullies and those witnessing the bullying. The bullies aren’t blamed for their behaviour but they are asked to help find a solution. Parents of bullied children, however, complain that the bullying often continues and that it isn’t fair for the bullies to get away without any sanctions.
Mediation between the bullied and bully. The idea of this method is to try to make the bully understand that what he or she considers amusing is hurtful to the victim which in turn is supposed to discourage them from unacceptable behaviour in the future. Experts, however, emphasise that this is often not the case and the fact that the victim is asked to reveal his or her feelings to the bully gives the latter even more power over the victim.
Peer support programme. This strategy has been shown to be quite effective because it involves the children too, not just teachers who are often unaware of what is going on in their classes while they aren’t present. But the children are and they can help, especially the older ones. Peer support programme involves training volunteer pupils who wear special badges or ribbons to let the bullied children know that they have someone to turn to. Unfortunately, volunteer pupils sometimes don’t know how to react, how they should intervene or whether they should intervene at all. Also, they may not realise the seriousness of the situation which poses a risk that an eventually serious safety threat remains unreported.
“Telling” schools. This method that as been shown very effective as well because it targets the witnesses rather than bullied children who often choose not to tell their parents or teacher about being bullied. “Telling” schools method encourages the bystanders to reveal bullying, making the incidents more likely to reach the teachers. But it has also been shown to discourage the bullies because they know they will have to answer for their behaviour.