On Wednesday, the Department for Education published research into the practices used by schools to prevent and tackle bullying. The report contains seven thematic case studies, and a summary of common strategies and challenges. The schools providing the case studies were identified as displaying innovative and effective practice in tackling bullying. Shared themes in the strategies deployed by these schools included:
- A whole school approach which involves both teaching and non-teaching members of staff, pupils, parents, carers and governors. This includes a highly visible, and inclusive, ethos which underpins everything that the school does; clear behaviour and anti-bullying policies which are regularly reviewed; and adequate training and support for staff.
- A focus on preventative practice, e.g. tackling prejudice, increasing empathy and encouraging awareness.
- An emphasis on keeping anti-bullying high profile throughout the year, rather than only during Anti-Bullying Week.
- A strategy of engaging and empowering pupils, for example through buddy systems, delivering assemblies, and anti-bullying ambassadors.
- Rapid responses to incidents to prevent escalation and build confidence that future concerns would be taken seriously.
- An awareness of the impact of technology on bullying through a concerted effort to keep up to date with online trends, and updating cyberbullying policies accordingly.
- Innovative methods of engaging with parents, such as termly parent forums and face-to-face meetings.