How to implement an effective anti-bullying policy
1. Involve pupils in drawing up the policy. They are more likely to take notice of something they have helped create. Use questionnaires and maps of where children feel safe as a prompt for further discussion.
2. Agree a clear definition of what is and is not bullying, so pupils know what is expected of them and what will be treated as bullying.
3. Set out clear procedures for how bullying will be dealt with, make sure they are widely understood and follow them every time. Parents should be clear about what will happen if their child is bullied, or is a bully.
4. Don't think the policy alone will tackle the problem: back it up with playground buddies, a friendship bench, easy reporting channels or peer mentoring, whichever is most suitable for your school.
5. Don't leave the policy in a drawer. Use Anti-Bullying Week in November as a springboard to reiterate the message; use assemblies and lessons to help create an atmosphere of respect and consideration.
How to design a bully-proof school
1. Ask pupils which parts of school make them feel most vulnerable and what changes would make them feel safer.
2. Get rid of hidden areas, such as dark stairwells and alleyways where children cannot be seen, and create bright and open social spaces, both indoors and out.
3. Check designs from the point of view of pupil flow: large numbers will be on the move at once, so corridors and staircases need to be wide and crossovers well thought out.
4. Make toilets solid, sweet-smelling and safe. Cubicle walls should go from floor to ceiling to prevent peeping. Have some form of surveillance: reinforced glass walls andor discreet CCTV covering washing areas.
5. Lockers should be sturdy and in a public space. A cashless system in school helps reduce bullies' interest in lockers.
If you need help
The Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment, the Government's building watchdog, has advice on improving school buildings: www.cabe.org.uk
The British Council for School Environments also has tips on improving safety: www.bcse.org.uk
Kidscape has a model anti-bullying policy: www.kidscape.org.ukassetsdownloadsantibullypolicy.doc
The NSPCC has guidelines for developing anti-bullying policies: www.nspcc.org.ukinformpublicationsdownloadsbullying_wdf48084.pdf
The Anti-Bullying Alliance has resources including details of children's books that deal with bullying and assembly plans:
4Children, a national charity, has activities for all ages on implementing anti-bullying policies: www.4children.org.ukinformationshowref532.