Explain how to support a child or young person and/or their family when bullying is suspected or alleged.
When dealing with bullying it is vital to follow schools policies and procedures in order to correctly support both child and families in cases of bullying. Children have the right to know that they are protected by law and that there is support out there for parents if their child is a victim of bullying. Children have the right to attend school and feel safe and protected and that their school has a duty to keep them safe, schools also have a legal obligation to ensure that any bullying is dealt with immediately and effectively.
If a child or young person approached me and disclosed any kind of bullying, firstly I would offer my support and take into consideration how hard it may have been for that child to have spoken to me in the first place. Some children may feel embarrassed and ashamed that it has happened to them so it is important to be sympathetic towards their feelings. I would praise the child for being brave enough to talk about this and remind them that they are not alone and at some point people have been bullied in one way or another in their lives, emphasizing the fact that it is the bully who has the problem and not them. I would then speak to the class teacher about what the child had told me which would enable her to deal with the situations in class. For a small child in foundation stage it could be that someone had just said something silly or called her an ‘unkind name’ which can be dealt with easily. For older children, bullying could be a more serious problem which can then be tackled by the form teacher or pastoral head of year. In both incidents, all children concerned will be monitored and certain steps of supervision will be set in place by their peers.
Parents of a child or young person could feel very distressed and alone on hearing that their child is a victim of bullying so it is important that they are given the same amount of respect that the child has received. If the parent is worried or suspects bullying is occurring then they can approach the class teacher who may be able to deal with it in class (for younger children). In the case of older children parents should approach the head of year to discuss matters on how this can be dealt with and stopped. The head will then monitor the situation and liaison with other professionals at school i.e. other teachers and teaching assistants, heads of year. Parents can then request updates on how the situation is being dealt with. It is vital that everyone is working in partnership and communicating with one another in order to prevent bullying.
When a child starts school a parent will receive a copy of the Schools Behaviour Policy, this policy gives the parent a chance to discuss with the child what the school expects in terms of their behaviour and that bullying will not be tolerated.