HEADS AND BULLYING
Did you know that Heads have a legal duty to stop bullying? Last week was anti-bullying week, by the way. Here is chapter and verse from the Education and Inspections Act 2006:
Determination by head teacher of behaviour policy
(1)The head teacher of a relevant school must determine measures to be taken with a view to—
(a)promoting, among pupils, self-discipline and proper regard for authority,
(b)encouraging good behaviour and respect for others on the part of pupils and, in particular, preventing all forms of bullying among pupils,
(c)securing that the standard of behaviour of pupils is acceptable,
(d)securing that pupils complete any tasks reasonably assigned to them in connection with their education, and
(e)otherwise regulating the conduct of pupils.
(2)The head teacher must in determining such measures—
(a)act in accordance with the current statement made by the governing body under section 88(2)(a), and
(b)have regard to any notification or guidance given to him under section 88(2)(b).
(3)The standard of behaviour which is to be regarded as acceptable must be determined by the head teacher, so far as it is not determined by the governing body.
(4)The measures which the head teacher determines under subsection (1) must include the making of rules and provision for disciplinary penalties (as defined by section 90).
(5)The measures which the head teacher determines under subsection (1) may, to such extent as is reasonable, include measures to be taken with a view to regulating the conduct of pupils at a time when they are not on the premises of the school and are not under the lawful control or charge of a member of the staff of the school.
(6)The measures determined by the head teacher under subsection (1) must be publicised by him in the form of a written document as follows—
(a)he must make the measures generally known within the school and to parents of registered pupils at the school, and
(b)he must in particular, at least once in every school year, take steps to bring them to the attention of all such pupils and parents and all persons who work at the school (whether or not for payment).
Some schools have fairly straightforward documents concentrating largely on behaviour, but schools are increasingly turning to particular methods, including the no-blame approach, peer counselling, restorative justice and circle time. There is a handbook on these methods The Anti-Bullying Handbook by Keith Sullivan, Oxford University Press, is, apparently, a good source of information for teachers and parents. What about the Restorative justice method which has many supporters? The web site Bullying.co.uk has the following view on this – that it is ‘Supposed to ‘empower’ young people as its practitioners believe punishments don’t fit the bill. Peer mediation and circle time are often part of the process. Restorative Justice has been used for some time for offenders to try to make them understand the effect they’ve had on people they have burgled or mugged. It continues – Our experience of the method ‘No-blame bullying policy by another name. Sadly, bullies don’t always have a better nature and don’t want to make amends but they do find it useful to learn more about their victim through mediation so that they can use that in further bullying.’
There is advice on bullying for schools and parents at the site below. There is a new Live Online Support service for every member of the family to get advice direct from its Expert team, ‘our advisors are standing by to support you with a wide range of bullying problems.’ http://www.bullying.co.uk/