Discovering that your child is being bullied at school is undoubtedly distressing and as a parent you are right to want the bullying stopped. In this section we offer you guidance on how best to approach this issue with the school.
Knowledge of the correct procedures to follow can make all the difference with regards helping your child. Please take time to read our guidance.
All schools have a legal responsibility to maintain standards of behaviour and discipline as part of the OFSTED framework of inspection. The DfE publish statutory guidance for schools and academies, this includes specific guidance on tackling bullying, safeguarding and the Equality Act.
Your child's school should have a clear and well publicised policy on Anti-bullying stating that bullying is unacceptable in any form. Ultimately your school head teacher is responsible for putting in place strategies to tackle bullying, maintain acceptable standards of discipline and behaviour and to promote respect for all. In addition your school governors are responsible for whole school discipline, the ethos of the school and its values and for putting in place an effective complaints procedure.
While these structures are in place please remember that bullying may unfortunately still occur. It is normal to feel angry and worried for your child's safety and frustrated by a difficult situation. However the fact that your child has been able to talk to you about being bullied and to ask for help is a victory for you. Many children feel unable to talk about it and many keep this problem to themselves. Your child has been very brave in speaking out and has taken a big and frightening step towards resolving what will be a very traumatic situation.
Therefore please be mindful of our guidance should you decide to approach your school about a bullying issue and keep you child at the centre.
- Make an appointment with a member of school staff or if you feel necessary, the headteacher. You may also wish to speak to the Safeguarding Lead at your child's school.
- Explain clearly why you have asked for the meeting.
- Allow sufficient time for the matter to be investigated properly.
- Encourage your child to record any further incidents of bullying they experience in a diary as a record of names, places, dates and times.
- At your meeting do your best to remain calm and share details of incidents your child has experienced and the impact it has had on them.
- State your intention to support your child and ask for the school's commitment to ensuring that the bullying stops.
- After your meeting allow time for the school to respond to the incidents and deal with those responsible. If you are still unhappy you may ask to speak with the designated safeguarding lead and seek other agency support, especially if your child is suffering from any emotional health and well-being trauma as a result of the bullying. Please follow the schools complaints procedure.
- If the bullying persists make a formal complaint in writing to the Chair of Governors explaining what has happened and what you feel would be a satisfactory outcome. The school may publish on line their anti bullying policy, safeguarding policy, behaviour policy and complaints policy . This may help with your complaint and how you structure this to the school.
- If you have pursue all options you may consider raising your concerns with Ofsted or the Education Funding Agency. For any significant harm risk to self or suicidal thoughts, you would be advised to contact Doncaster Safeguarding Childrens Trust, community mental health practitioner, SYEDA,school nurse, GP or the police in the interest of safeguarding. National charities such as NSPCC, Anti-Bullying Alliance, Stonewall and PAPYRUS also offer support and signposting to services.
- Remember that your child's well being and safety is the most important factor. Keeping children safe in education is a school/academy priority and staff are trained to support your child. The school will need to work together with you.