12th January 2001 at 00:00
THE ANTI-BULLYING HANDBOOK. By Keith Sullivan. Oxford University Press pound;9.99.

This is a must-have and a must-read for all senior staff in secondary and primary schools.

All children make friends, break friends, say horrible things to each other, are spiteful, tease and jostle for places in the pecking orders of school and family. Bullying is something beyond that, but drawing a dividing line between normal social interaction and bullying is incredibly difficult. It's all about the perceptions of schools, parents and, most importantly, children.

If your school lacks a crystal clear policy and effective systems to combat bullying, watch out. The recently introduced Human Rights Act, with its requirement tht no one should be subjected to degrading treatment or torture, has implications for schools.

Schools that insist they have no bullying are leaving themselves open for a tough time in the courts. There is no better source of advice and guidance on the issues than this book from an international expert, backed up with research evidence from a number of countries.

At 250 pages, it is overflowing with advice, guidance, descriptions and diagrams; it is sharp, readable, thoughtful, helpful and to the point. This is an invaluable supplement to whatever guidance is provided by local authorities and professional associations.

Mike Sullivan is head of Busill Jones primary school, Walsall, West Midlands

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