Action Against Bullying: guidance for parents

The College has both planned and programmed as well as adhoc methods of educating students about bullying and, in support of our College ethos, about the importance of collective responsibility. We have led a clear drive to address increasing levels of unkindness in society which we see in the way people, and young people, treat each other. Despite this factor the consistently overwhelming feedback from the majority of parents, staff and students remains that young people feel safe in College. This is unlikely to be work that can ever be seen as ‘finished’, however, we are determined.

Everyone has their own levels of resilience at different times and perceptions may vary. It is normal that we will not like everyone or that some people will not like us.  What will always be of utmost importance to us however, is that our students feel safe and happy at College. If you are concerned about your child’s general levels of wellbeing, please contact College and use the guidance online:

We view this as a collective effort, both College and parents can work together to remind students of the following:

Understanding what is meant by bullying

However, bullying can happen anywhere to anyone. It is important to understand what is meant by ‘bullying’ this is also set out clearly for students on the linked page here:

  • It is not disagreements between friends or not liking someone. It is not being left out of one event, being looked at or accidental encounters in busy areas.
  • It is usually defined as repeated and sustained behaviour over time which is intended to hurt someone either emotionally or physically.

Parents can help: We can support as adults by encouraging kindness. What may seem like “banter” to one person may be hurtful and upsetting to another. Once or twice is not bullying but sustained over time it is damaging and unacceptable. Modelling calm, kind behaviours and language in how we as adults engage, shows that we can resolve disagreements or differences positively.

Safe and sensible use of social media

The need to think carefully about what we write, share and read is covered extensively in PHSE and other lessons in College. Filtering helps to a great extent but does not prevent unsupervised access on phones out of College. More on our online safety provision can be found here:

Parents can help: We have frequently shared guidance on supervising and monitoring young peoples use of their phones and apps. Specific Information is available on our Online Safety website page. Regular monitoring and discussion encourages safe boundaries, can moderate language and access to inappropriate sites or content; it is a subtle barrier to know that adults may see what they say online and the group chats they are in. Parents can also help by modelling a kind and moderate use of social media as adults.

The need to report

We log all reported issues on a range from “unkind language or physicality” to “bullying behaviours”. These logs are then substantiated with available supporting information (necessary to prevent false reporting) building up a picture over time. Whilst every child should be allowed the chance to correct and improve their actions, repeated patterns of unkind behaviour will not go without serious sanction.

Parents can help: Without logging or necessary information, we cannot act on issues we do not know about or are unable to evidence, this absolutely does not mean we do not care or do not wish to respond. Please encourage your child to report so they can be assured of a supportive response. We may not always be able to act on events that take place out of school but will always support as far as we can.

Working together

As parents, and as adults who work with young people, it is always upsetting to see our children hurt or distressed. Our ability to work collectively together to understand and help them navigate issues is important. It also helps College to act decisively and firmly against the minority who persistently pursue unacceptable and unpleasant ways of behaving with others.

There is a process that has to be applied to be able to manage instances of bullying effectively. It has to be fair to all parties and thorough. It must rely on facts and balance, not rumour or supposition.

It is important that all adults involved work positively, constructively and honestly together to make this as efficient and effective as possible. Please do note the expectations set by leaders and governors of communication with our hard-working professionals. The safety and happiness of our students is our shared priority best protected when we work together.