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Anti bullying week

posted 17 Nov 2016, 11:16 by Danny Mizon   [ updated 18 Nov 2016, 03:51 by Dave Evans ]

This is national anti-bullying week, and so earlier this week I led a whole-school assembly in which we explored some key issues. 

I was interested to know if the children understood what is really meant by bullying and was very impressed that so many of them knew that bullying has three elements to it:

• The unwelcome behaviour needs to be intentional;
• It needs to be hurtful; 
• It needs to happen more than once. 

The children also understood that bullying behaviour can come from one person, two people or a group of people, and that the target can also be a group as well as an individual. 

Equally, the children had a very good understanding that bullying can take the shape of physical behaviour (such as hitting, kicking or pushing, for example), unkind words and also looks or even body language (repeatedly turning you back on someone can e hurtful…) The  children are aware of the issue of cyber-bullying – bullying by social media – as well.  

In our assembly, I explained that sometimes it is possible to hurt someone physically, or to hurt their feelings, yet for this not to amount to bullying. If we hurt another person by accident that is not bullying; if we lose our temper and say something unkind to a friend, that is not bullying either. It is possible for any of us sometimes to behave in a rude or hurtful way – it is wrong, and in school it may require the adults to step in and correct the behaviour – but it is not yet bullying. 

So for us to see it as bullying, we have to see hurtful behaviour that is happening more than once.  At Ringmer we don’t see very much bullying, but when we do see it, we act robustly to set clear boundaries and to protect other children. Children showing bullying behaviour can often be vulnerable themselves for various reasons, and we will often work with them to help them show more positive behaviour. 

In the assembly we also talked about what our response to bullying should be. I explained that as Headteacher, I DO want to see children stand up for themselves and for one another, but I DON’T want them to respond to something hurtful by retaliating. Two wrongs don’t make a right… the children know that if they think they are being bullied, they are allowed to firmly tell the other child that their behaviour is unwelcome and they should stop. They also need to tell an adult – preferably in school but if not then at home, so that you can be their voice. I also explained that if they retaliate and hurt back, it is not always easy to work out who is at fault! 

One important aspect of this year's anti-bullying week is the 'Power for Good' - in other words that we can make another person happy by a kind word or a good deed. Always a positive message!

You might like to see the anti-bullying week PowerPoint that I used in my assembly – it can be found under the Safeguarding tab on this website. By all means use this to debate the issues around bullying with your children – you might be surprised and pleased to find out how much they know and understand.

The children will also be doing follow up work in class and in fact I will be staying with the anti-bullying theme over the next two weeks as well, exploring ideas of diversity and encouraging the children to value one another as individuals. In our school the behaviour of the children is very good and we do not experience high levels of poor behaviour or bullying: I hope that by doing this sort of work with the children in anti-bullying week, we will give them the strategies to deal with it, if they find themselves at the wrong end of unkind behaviour.

Danny Mizon,
17 Nov 2016, 11:23