Anti-Bullying Week 2018 takes place during 12th to 16th November and as headteacher of an independent school I wanted to provide some perspective on how we feel bullying should be addressed; by not only supporting the victim, but by also understanding the bully.
Whilst our priority is to ensure that pupils experiencing bullying have various ways to report the issue and access the support they need, as educators we also need to make every effort to uncover the underlying problems causing the bully’s behaviour.
By addressing the issues which causes the bully to react, we can tackle the problem once and for all as opposed to transposing it.
As we look towards a future where bullying ceases to exist, especially in schools, I believe that by providing one-to-one support for both parties involved this will bring us closer to preventing occurrences altogether.
At Hipperholme Grammar School, our current system offers pupils various options to report bullying including drop-in-sessions, approaching a teacher, writing a letter or by encouraging other pupils who are aware of bullying to report this directly to us.
Once the issue has been reported, it is immediately addressed by investigating the allegations. Support is offered and steps are taken to ensure those being bullied are not directly exposed to situations where it can continue.
Taking an extra step, we also work together with the accused to educate them about the life-long negative effects of bullying and talk to them about the way they are feeling and how this is expressed in the way they are treating others.
And we continue to address the subject of bullying throughout the year during assemblies as well as in our Personal, Social and Health Education sessions.
These steps might be a challenging route for some as when it comes to zero tolerance bullying it’s not always a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach, but these ways have been more productive at our school as all of our staff strive to end bullying once and for all.
Headteacher, Hipperholme Grammar School