How to spot if your pupils are being bullied
1. Children being bullied may appear increasingly withdrawn, anxious and unresponsive, particularly in group settings. They may also become increasingly agitated as break times near, because that is when most bullying takes place. You need to be vigilant.
2. Bullied children may have bruises, cuts, or torn clothing and when questioned may not be able to provide explanations.
3. Peers may isolate them or treat their responses in class with derision.
4. Bullied children may show a gradual deterioration in the quality of their school work or homework. They may also constantly "lose" books and equipment.
5. Watch out for repeating patterns of non-attendance.
How to protect your pupils
1. Have a clear and well-understood anti-bullying policy that is regularly updated and has input from pupils, parents, teachers, non-teaching staff and governors.
2. Use the annual Anti-Bullying Week (November 17-21 in 2008) as a focus for activity. Ensure staff are regularly trained in employing anti-bullying strategies effectively.
3. Make sure there are a range of easily accessible channels for children and parents or carers to report bullying.
4. Deal with bullying consistently. Take all allegations seriously, record details and what actions have been taken, and review the effectiveness of responses over time.
5. Involve pupils in finding solutions to bullying. Peer mentoring is a good way to provide support for pupils who need to confide in someone.
If you need help
The Anti-Bullying Alliance offers advice and help to schools in tackling bullying: www.anti-bullyingalliance.org.uk
The Anti-Bullying Network in Scotland has information and resources for teachers: www.antibullying.net
Beatbullying runs training courses on how to recognise bullying and help bullied children: www.beatbullying.org
Kidscape runs training courses including setting up peer groups and working with bullied children, and offers advice and resources including posters and badges. The charity also has a helpline: 08451 205 204, Monday to Friday, 10am-4pm. www.kidscape.org.uk
Childline runs a 24-hour helpline for children: 0800 1111.