5. Top tips

2nd May 2008 at 01:00
FOR TEACHERS - If you are being bullied at work
FOR TEACHERS

If you are being bullied at work

1. Learn to spot the symptoms early. Act when you start to feel anxious or there is a pit in your stomach when you're driving to school. If you wait until you're sure it is bullying, it may have already reached a serious level and be harder to unravel.

2. Talk to someone. Is there someone at school you can talk to confidentially? Tell them what's going on, although be wary of saying you're being bullied - it is an emotive word and can provoke strong responses.

3. Ring the Teacher Support Network. Trained counsellors can offer support and arrange further counselling.

4. If it is clear you are being bullied, contact your union. You will not be able to take on your school culture, or your school leaders, on your own.

5. Document every incident you feel is relevant. This could be important evidence in the event of a grievance procedure, and it can also be therapeutic to put your experience on paper.

FOR SCHOOLS

What schools should do to stop bullying among staff

1. Ensure that tailored policies and procedures are in place that recognise and deal with bullying and its resulting problems, and that responsibilities are clearly assigned.

2. Create an environment where staff feel comfortable asking for help. For example, bring staff together for a conversation about bullying, giving everyone the chance to clarify their understanding of bullying and set clear boundaries.

3. Act early and provide consistent support.

4. Enlist the support of human resources or occupational health professionals, whether provided by the local authority or school or brought in on an ad hoc basis.

5. Consider introducing a wellbeing programme to prevent bullying, such as those provided by Worklife Support. Visit www.worklifesupport.com.

IF YOU NEED HELP

Teacher Support Network runs a 24-hour helpline: 0800 0562 561 in England; 0800 0855 088 in Wales; and an online support service in Scotland www.teachersupport.infoscotland

The Andrea Adams Trust, a charity dedicated to tackling workplace bullying, runs a helpline Monday to Friday, 10am-4pm: 01273 704 900

www.andreaadamstrust.org

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