4 July, 16

Bullying

Bullying may include the following types of behaviour – Name calling and teasing, taunting, mocking, making offensive comments, malicious gossip, stealing from the victim, physical violence, making threats, coercion and isolation from group activities.

The Department for Education considers bullying to be conduct which is deliberately hurtful, repeated over a period of time and difficult for victims to defend themselves against.

Head Teachers are under a requirement to have an up to date Anti Bullying Policy in place. Schools and local education authorities have a legal duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of children which requires two types of arrangements to be made:

  • To take all reasonable measures to ensure that risk of harm to children’s welfare is minimised and…
  • To take all appropriate action to address concerns about the welfare of a child or children working to agreed policies and procedures in full partnership with other local agencies. This also encompasses issues including pupil health, safety and bullying.

What to do

If your child is being bullied you should approach the school to tell them about the situation and find out what they are doing or planning to do about the problem.

First approach the teacher concerned. If you feel you cannot talk to the teacher or the teacher does not take your complaint seriously there may be other support staff you can talk to.

Secondly, talk to the Head Teacher and explain that you have already raised your concerns with the head teacher.

If the Head Teacher does not resolve your complaint or you feel the action taken is insufficient you may need to take matters further by making a formal complaint.

There is a legal requirement for schools to have a written complaints policy. Before making your complaint you should ask to see a copy of your child’s education record. You can do this in writing by writing to the teacher and stating you are making the request formally.

There is a legal requirement for schools to have a written complaints policy. Before making your complaint you should ask to see a copy of your child’s education record. You can do this in writing by writing to the teacher and stating you are making the request formally.

Often schools have their own procedures for managing complaints and the governors will appoint a sub-committee of between 3 – 5 governors to hear the complaint at a Panel Hearing and decide what action should be taken. Normally parents would be allowed to attend and present evidence to the sub- committees.

Governing bodies often allow solicitors to make these representations on behalf of parents. Some governing bodies may make a decision on paper submissions alone.

GT Stewart Solicitors can help prepare any written representations and also present parent’s cases at a Panel Hearing. We can advise on process and procedure, and help parents negotiate an action plan with schools in order to combat bullying.

We can also advise if there are any related Equality Act 2010 issues that may be in play if your child has a protected characteristic as well as advising upon the local authority’s duty to safeguard children generally under the Children Act 1989.

For initial advice or to arrange a meeting with one of our solicitors, please contact us on 020 8299 6000.

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