There are many issues in schools that require a cross-age or cross-curricular approach when it comes to continuing professional development

Assessment for learning, behaviour management and information technology are just some of the areas that affect all teachers – regardless of who and what they teach. But arguably, the area which could impact pupils’ well-being the most is the way in which bullying is tackled as a whole school.

There is no doubt that schools have a responsibility to banish bullying whenever it occurs, but this has to be balanced against the need to ensure that all staff members are fully aware of all the anti-bullying strategies at their disposal. Beyond your school’s policy on bullying prevention, it is important that all members of staff feel confident enough to deal with even the subtlest of bullying incidents – and in addition that they are aware of any development needs they may have regarding the issue.

A serious issue such as bullying can require frequent training and development as a whole school, to ensure that all are equally involved in moving forward the school’s response. Such training might usefully cover:

  • Signs and symptoms of bullying.
  • Where bullying happens in your school.
  • Why bullying happens in your school.
  • The ways in which bullying is reported, and to whom.
  • The degree to which your school is proactive or reactive when it comes to tackling bullying.
  • Specifically how bullying is dealt with.
  • Current communication strategies regarding bullying incidents to ensure that all relevant staff members are informed without delay.
  • Bullying as a child protection issue.
  • Bullying and human rights.

Once you have this information and have disseminated it thoroughly, the next steps for training would be to explore:

  • Ways in which bullying might be reported more easily.
  • Methods of prevention rather than reaction.
  • Consistency among staff in their approach to typical bullying situations.
  • Ways of improving communication between staff members to keep on top of any bullying that does break out.
  • New methods for dealing with bullying that are not currently used in your school.
  • Ways of conveying the school’s stance on bullying widely throughout the school community.
  • Where the anti bullying message might be located in every curriculum area at every age.
  • Methods of monitoring and evaluating bullying and the school’s response to it for each member of staff.
  • Ways in which staff members and governors with responsibility for anti-bullying policies and initiatives might best be supported by the whole school.

It is most effective if training is coordinated rather than ad hoc, and it’s essential that all new and temporary members of staff are fully briefed too. Where possible and appropriate, invite skilled professionals from outside to help your school deliver its anti-bullying policy, and consider utilising pupils when training staff on bullying issues. When tackled thoroughly and consistently, this can be significantly reduced, if not eliminated.

Find out more

Beatbullying aims to reduce and prevent the incidence and impact of bullying between young people and offers training solutions for educators. To find out more call 0845 338 5068 or email info@beatbullying.org.

This e-bulletin issue was first published in January 2007

About the author: Elizabeth Holmes is the author of CPD Week

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