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What - in our school?
It can happen anywhere. Fortunately, in the majority of cases bullying issues will be dealt with sensitively and effectively. If, however, your child is bullied, you have exhausted all other options and you are considering moving schools then we at The Good Schools Guide Education Consultants have long experience in this kind of thing. Our consultants understand your child’s – and your – distress under such circumstances and we also know the schools which are good at picking up survivors of bullying, dusting them down and setting them upright again.
So – do we have to find a new school?
A move isn’t always the answer, indeed few children benefit from being moved at such times – and certainly serial moving is almost always a disaster in the longer term. Sadly, however, sometimes a school just doesn’t, can’t or won’t get it right and you come to the decision that the only option is to move your child. This should be seen as the last resort but it needn’t be the end of anyone’s world. If you are considering moving your child because of bullying – or any other kind of unhappiness – give us a call. We can discuss the options in a relaxed and sensible way and work out what will be best for your child. Importantly, you will not be dealing with it alone.
Your child – the bully?
What if – heaven forbid – it is your child who is accused of bullying? That can be just as painful and, as with being the parent of a bullee you need sensitivity to sort out the whys and wherefores. It is worth remembering – whichever side you’re on – that the parents have to be the adults in the situation and even if you find the offending child – and its parent – as obnoxious as your child does, the emphasis has to be on learning to live with each other, tolerate each other’s differences and do as you would be done by. The Good Schools Guide Education Consultants are supportive and understand that children don’t always get it right. So never feel afraid of calling us. We can help you and your child – whether the victim or the perpetrator – through the sensitive business of getting through the difficulties. We are non-judgmental and know that sometimes – though not always – a new start is the best way.
Schools and bullying
Don’t trust a head who tells you there is no bullying in her school. There will be – she just chooses not to deal with it. The mark of a good school is not whether or not there is bullying but how the bullying that inevitably happens now and then is dealt with.
All schools have an Anti-Bullying Policy. Some heads will whack it down on their desk in front of you. They will cite the pastoral team’s chain of command – form teacher – head of year – head of house – deputy head (pastoral) – head. And they may well have a pupil mentoring system too. And yet still your child comes home crying, nasty texts will appear on her mobile, vicious messages are on his Facebook page and yet another pair of hockey or football boots have disappeared
Dealing with bullying
So – if – and we hope it never is – this is your child, what do you do? The first thing is not to be cowed. Your child may kick and scream that they don’t want a fuss and that your going in will make it worse. They may be right – at first – but any school that doesn’t tackle the perpetrators and make it absolutely clear that the bullying stops here and now is a school your child shouldn’t be at.
It can’t be done with boxing gloves and nailed boots. Bullies need sensitive handling – they’ve often been mistreated themselves and frequently have problems of their own. Happy, well-adjusted, confident children don’t want to make others miserable
The school should have its own way of confronting the situation and its own strategy for sorting it out. Much will depend on whether the bully is a lone figure or whether you are dealing with a little gang. Your child may need an older pupil as a mentor or a staff member as a ‘friend’ to give confidence and reassurance while the sorting out is going on. But they should never be made to feel the bullying is their fault or that it isn’t taken seriously.
So – if you are having to confront anything to do with bullying, call us for a friendly, understanding discussion – in, of course, complete confidence.