How one Scottish school beat the bullies

An East Ayrshire primary school’s ‘positive behaviour’ policy has proved a success in tackling and minimising bullying through its emphasis on relationships, understanding and empathy – with both victim and perpetrator. It reflects a wider cultural shift in how pupils are viewed and treated in Scottish schools, writes Henry Hepburn

How one Scottish school beat the bullies

There is a climactic scene in the 2017 film Wonder where the put-upon protagonist fights back. Augie, a 10-year-old boy with a rare facial deformity, is taunted about his appearance by an older boy. A fight starts, but Augie escapes after a friend punches the bully in the face and Augie follows up by landing a kick in the bully’s groin.

As a result, Augie earns respect among his peers and his dad is filled with pride. The message is clear: bullying is largely about the assertion of power, and physical violence is a way of tackling it, turning power dynamics on their head, fending off the ...

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