It’s the start of Anti-Bullying Week (16th-20th November) – an important campaign that highlights the serious issue of bullying and ways in which schools can work with parents to manage and reduce bullying incidents.
As a parent myself, no one likes to think about their child being involved in bullying and I know how unsettling the issue can be. Bullying can not only have a negative impact on a child’s ability to learn, but can also threaten their physical and emotional wellbeing.
It’s vital to keep parents informed of any incidents that involve their child, but also encourage them to report any incidents that they become aware of.
Unfortunately, the statistics don’t make for the most pleasant reading and only heighten the need to raise awareness of the issue and what can be done to help prevent it. Over 16,000 children are absent from school at any one time as a result of bullying, while as many as 55% of all school children report bullying either to a teacher or family member.
I wanted to share a number of tips on how your school can manage and reduce incidents of bullying, track behaviour groups and make interventions early on by using some of the functionality available in SIMS.
Identify the issue
Managing and reducing bullying incidents at your school starts when you first identify the issue. Parents can play a key role by reporting a bullying incident directly to the school, which may be a meeting at the school, a phone call or a text message.
Schools with SIMS InTouch should make parents aware that the school has a dedicated phone number set up*, which parents can text to report incidents at any time of the day, including outside of school hours. For example, if parents find out about an incident when talking to their children in the evening, they can immediately report it. The school will then be able to follow up the next morning, put interventions in place and offer support. Separately, SIMS InTouch also allows you to notify other teachers of any incidents of bullying that may have occurred, so that they can monitor affected pupils.
Monitor and track behaviour
By having the incident recorded in SIMS and readily available, this will help staff to choose the interventions to deal with it.
The pupils involved in the bullying incidents can be monitored and tracked by using a number of dynamic groups within SIMS Discover. For example, you can setup a group to look at certain types of behavioural incidents by year group, and also setup alerts for when people leave or enter a group.
Separately, it’s important that parents of all parties in question are kept informed of the current situation, as well as any progress or changes that occur and what action you intend to take and when. Teachers should also be kept updated with any changes that occur to children in their classes.
Keeping a record
Schools need to meet the requirements of Ofsted and one of these is that schools must record and monitor any bullying incidents, including recovery patterns. SIMS keeps a record of all of this information and schools with InTouch will have a record of email and text communications between home and school.
It’s crucial for inspectors to be able to see how schools record bullying incidents, as well as the detail that is included, further analysis and what action was taken – because this information is needed to help schools shape future actions.
We understand that in an ideal world you want to have programmes in place to help prevent bullying from happening in the first place however hard it is to eradicate entirely. Schools have many ways to discourage negative behaviour, which may help to reduce bullying incidents. SIMS can play a role in prevention too, for example, with SIMS InTouch you can reward pupils for good behaviour and schedule automatic alerts to be sent out when they have reached a certain achievement level.
This can play a part in creating a more positive environment within your school, where bullying may be less likely to occur.
If you have a question, please leave a comment in the box below or share how your school is managing bullying.
*Each SIMS InTouch customer will have received notification of their dedicated mobile number as part of the set up process and activation of the SMS gateway.