Prevention and Proactive Strategies

Research shows us that bullying is a social process that relies on the silence of the crowd. Therefore, proactive work that is undertaken with the whole school/every child can help to reduce the numbers of bullying incidents, and increase the likelihood of the targets of bullying being supported and the bullying being reported.

Assemblies/raising awareness

Using assembly and curriculum time or flexible/special days to raise awareness of bullying or to focus on a value or skill that helps to prevent bullying is seen as highly beneficial to the whole school community. This time can be used to reinforce codes of conduct and policies, as well as celebrating success and emphasising the importance of cooperation and inclusion.

Some useful outlines for assemblies can be found in SEAL materials which you can download here

SEAL Anti-Bullying Resource (PDF)

The full suite of SEAL materials is also available for download at:

Assembly materials are also available as part of B.I.G. Award registration.

See our page on B.I.G. Awards.

Improving the school grounds

If your surveys have shown that there are hot spots for bullying behaviour or there are peak times for anti-social behaviour, then improving the grounds, developing greater ownership over the environment and providing more stimulating and varied activities can help to reduce bullying behaviours.

An outdoor environment should provide a wealth of activities, opportunities, and places for games and discussion. By having a broad range of equipment in your environment, each child can find an area that is of interest to them, promoting inclusion.

You could also introduce a ‘friendship corner’; a quiet space for benches or an outdoor shelter that is emphasised as a welcoming place for sitting and talking.

Some schools have dedicated a corner to creating a garden. Here, growing beds or allotments can be established to encourage children to work together.

Outdoor activities encourage interaction between children and the development of social skills.

The school ground constitutes an important site where children learn how to engage with one another and learn how to manage some of the risks associated with physical activity.

See www.growingschools.org.uk

Playtimes

Midday meal supervisors have an important role in supporting anti-bullying in school communities and often provide a link between the school and wider community for schools. They should be actively involved in decision-making and implementation of the anti-bullying policy. It is important they feel supported and valued in their role and that they have appropriate training in encouraging positive behaviour and cooperative play, as well as how to appropriately respond to incidents of bullying.

Massage in Schools programme

The Massage in School Programme is based on the belief that respectful touch can encourage self-esteem, confidence and mutual respect. It involves children in giving and receiving simple massage to the head, neck, shoulders and back. Evaluation of the programme shows that it enhances self-respect in children and they become calmer, more confident and more co-operative. It also enhances inclusion with children. Massage has had such a noticeable effect on bullying that the Massage in School Programme has been invited to participate in the Department of Education’s anti-bullying workshops.

Further information: www.massageinschools.com

Rights Respecting Schools Award (RRSA)

The RRSA recognises achievement in putting the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) at the heart of a school’s planning, policies, practice and ethos.

Further information: www.unicef.org.uk/rights-respecting-schools

Protective Behaviours

The two themes:

  • We all have the right to feel safe all the time.
  • There is nothing so awful that we can’t talk about it with someone.

Protective behaviours is a practical and down to earth approach to personal safety.

It is a process which encourages self-empowerment and brings with it the skills to avoid becoming a target. This is achieved by helping people recognise and trust their intuitive feelings and to develop strategies for self-protection.

Further information: www.protectivebehaviours.co.uk