Bullying behaviour is defined as
“behaviour by an individual or group – usually repeated over time – that intentionally hurts another individual or group, either physically or emotionally.”
Bullying can take many forms:
Equality Act 2010 Guidance for Schools
The Act defines four kinds of unlawful behaviour -
Schools and settings have a duty to ensure that prospective, present, and past pupils who have the protected characteristics of sex, race, disability religion and belief, sexual orientation, gender reassignment and pregnancy and maternity are not subjected to these forms of unlawful behaviour.
Although the relationship between one pupil and another is not within the scope of the Act (see paragraph 1.7), schools need to ensure that all forms of prejudice-motivated bullying are taken seriously and dealt with equally and firmly.
The Education and Inspections Act 2006 - Section 89 provides that maintained schools must have measures to encourage good behaviour and prevent all forms of bullying amongst pupils. These measures should be part of the school’s behaviour policy which must be communicated to all pupils, school staff and parents.
The Education (Independent School Standards) Regulations 2014 provide that the proprietor of an Academy or other independent school ensures that bullying at the school is prevented in so far as reasonably practicable, by the drawing up and implementation of an effective anti-bullying strategy.
Children Act 1989 Safeguarding Children and Young People
When there is ‘reasonable cause to suspect that a child is suffering, or is likely to suffer, significant harm’ a bullying incident should be addressed as a child protection concern under the Children Act 1989. Where this is the case, the school staff should discuss with the school’s designated safeguarding lead and report their concerns to their local authority children’s social care and work with them to take appropriate action.
Full details can be found in Part One of Keeping Children Safe in Education.
Criminal Law - although bullying in itself is not a specific criminal offence in the UK, it is important to bear in mind that some types of harassing or threatening behaviour – or communications – could be a criminal offence, for example under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997, the Malicious Communications Act 1988, the Communications Act 2003, and the Public Order Act 1986.
If school staff feel that an offence may have been committed, they should seek assistance from the police. For example, under the Malicious Communications Act 1988, any person who sends an electronic communication which conveys a message which is indecent or grossly offensive, a threat, or information which is false and known or believed to be false by the sender, is guilty of an offence if their purpose in sending it was to cause distress or anxiety to the recipient.
Bullying is now covered under ‘personal development, behaviour and welfare’.
The Equality Diversity Inclusion Team (EDIT) provide specialist advice and support which will enable all staff in educational settings to develop their understanding and skills when responding to and preventing identity-based (prejudice) behaviours and bullying.
The service also deliver training to develop participants knowledge and skills so they can recognise, record, respond to and explore curriculum opportunities to prevent incidents of bullying from happening.
These are available through CPD Online and as bespoke training to schools and MATs.
EDIT also offer workshops which help children and young people to develop critical thinking skills and explore controversial issues such as stereotyping, identity, radicalisation, racism, homophobia, transphobia, and biphobia.
Please click on the relevant buttons below for further details on how EDIT can help you.