Ten Anti-Bullying Tips


  1. Anonymous Reporting: Having the opportunity to anonymously report bullying can alleviate a lot of stress for some young people and make it more likely for them to report an incident. Worry boxes can be a simple and way for students to share their concerns with teachers and staff anonymously as well as more advanced systems such as online confidential reporting from school computers.

Newton Abbot College, Devon, use a confidential online reporting system which allows pupils to send anonymous messages, via a ‘Confide’ icon on all school computers, to a senior pastoral member of staff if they have any worries or issues about school or home, or are worried about someone else. The tool is used to report bullying, but also as a safeguarding tool.


  1. Be Visible: An important part of being an advocate for anti-bullying is being visible. It’s hard for your students to know what your schools’ message is if it isn’t part of your day to day branding. Poster campaigns are great at getting the message out as well as simple slogans.

Highfield Middle School introduced an ‘Auntie Bully’ cardboard cut-out mascot which is moved to different locations around the school. The mascot features heavily during Anti-Bullying Week but is also used throughout the year as a visual reminder to pupils that the school is an anti-bullying school. “We move her round the school, in all sorts of places like the toilets and the corridors…It has been really effective with key stage two pupils... We recognise that it has to be constant, it has to be visual.”


  1. Anti-Bullying Ambassadors: Introducing anti-bullying ambassadors in schools is a brilliant way to empower young people to take a stand against bullying. Not only can they provide a great insight into what’s happening on the ground at school, they can become great role models to the other students and help influence better behaviour from others.


  1. Kindness Trees and School Displays: A great way to show how anti-bullying and inclusion is part of the school’s culture is by having displays created by students showing their commitment to anti-bullying, serving as a daily reminder for all of how important anti-bullying and inclusion is to everyone at the school.


  1. Have an Inclusive and Comprehensive Anti-Bullying Policy: How comprehensive is your anti-bullying policy? Does it acknowledge all protected characteristics? Have you thought about involving young people in the development of your anti bullying policy? Including young people in the development of anti-bullying policies can create buy-in for the policy as well make sure that it is clear and understandable for the young people themselves.

Norwood Green Junior School is a West London school with a focus on preventing bullying from happening in the first place. It promotes a culture of mutual respect that celebrates difference. “At the beginning of the academic year we delay the curriculum and have two weeks where it’s all about setting class cultures,” explains deputy headteacher Jon Makepeace. Teachers spend time with the children reviewing their rights and responsibilities, from the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The school links the Convention directly to its own values of respect, honesty, responsibility, friendship, resilience, kindness and inclusiveness. This is shown in the school’s class charter, displayed as a colourful poster in every classroom. “The children feel comfortable, valued and they understand what’s expected of them,” Jon says. During those two weeks, pupils explore the children’s version of the school’s anti-bullying policy. “Children are aware it’s their responsibility to [report bullying],” Jon explains. “Hopefully, if you ask any child in the school ‘Who’s involved in dealing with bullying?’ they would say: ‘We all are’.”


  1. Celebrate Difference: Often discriminatory bullying can come from a place of fear or rejection of the unknown. By teaching young people about differences and creating a safe space for them to discuss issues, young people can learn about and celebrate all the great things about different religions, cultures and backgrounds, rather than reject them.

Woodside High School: Key historical events and issues such as Apartheid are taught across the curriculum in subjects such as History, Geography, English and PSHE. It is also covered through whole-school events such as Black History Month, where students speak about issues which are important to them. Extremism is studied in History, PSHE and English where students are encouraged to consider issues such as the rise of the far-right, racism and the impact that this continues to have on society.


  1. Staff Training – Would staff at the school, particularly those who deal with bullying incidents, be comfortable talking to a student suffering from Islamophobia and homophobic bullying? Having staff who are comfortable and have the knowledge to talk to students about particular issues could help students who might be feeling isolated and feel they have no one to talk to. EqualiTeach offer a broad range of training sessions covering all issues of equality and diversity: www.equaliteach.co.uk


  1. Take all Reports of Bullying Seriously – It can be easy for both students and staff to dismiss particular examples of bullying as ‘banter’ or just part of girls being ‘bitchy’ or boys being ‘tough’. It’s important to avoid these stereotypes and take every example of bullying seriously.

Redhill Secondary School, in order to encourage pupils and staff to challenge all bullying, have adopted a key message within the school’s anti-bullying policy: ‘It’s ‘OK to tell.’ This is now especially relevant in tackling banter. “It’s all linked to culture and ethos,” The assistant Head explains. “We need to ensure that all staff are aware of what is acceptable. It’s not enough for teachers to say to each other: ‘Did you hear them?’ Staff have to challenge it.” The assistant Head says discriminatory ‘banter’ is now being logged – either verbally among staff or on SIMS. The issue of bullying and banter is also now part of Redhill’s personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) curriculum. “We don’t want bullying to be something we only cover for one week in November,” he adds.


  1. Cyber Bullying – Young people need to be educated about cyberbullying prior to them using technology. Some schools use computers with students from as young as year 2 for online maths and literacy programmes. The children have a password and create a profile and need to know how to keep their password safe. It is important also to educate parents and carers. There can sometimes be an assumption that cyberbullying won’t affect young people until secondary school and so some parents/carers might not be aware of how much access young people really have to the internet and the media.

Hillcrest Primary School, Bristol began running workshops for parents/carers of children in reception after a child’s account got hacked after telling a friend their password. That friend went into the account and made the avatar into the opposite sex and changed the name, upsetting the child. The workshops teach parents/carers about staying safe online and protecting their children online. 

“I recently ran a parent focus group on bullying, focusing on what their expectations were of how a good school would tackle the issue. An interesting perspective was on how bullying affects other people, causing reactions that impact the victim even more. Getting bystanders to empathise is key and their role in bullying is something that a school's e-safety curriculum should cover” Tim Browse, Headteacher of Hillcrest Primary School.

For more information: https://www.theguardian.com/teacher-network/teacher-blog/2013/dec/02/cyberbullying-strategies-schools-bullying


  1. Signposting: Sometimes young people need someone to talk to that isn’t a teacher or a parent/carer. Does your school have accessible information and signposting for young people to find someone to talk to? Organisations like Childline and NSPCC offer advice and support for young people and could be a helpful service to direct students towards.

For more case studies of effective anti-bullying practices, please visit: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/715359/Approaches_to_preventing_and_tackling_bullying_-_case_studies.pdf