Develop a whole school approach to dealing with bullying

Holly Edwards is Deputy Chief and All Together Project Leader at Priory Junior School in Nottinghamshire. It tells us about their journey from an audit of their anti-bullying practice which identified the need for improvement, to obtaining gold status through the All Together program in 2021 for their dedication and solid approach to fighting bullying.

School leadership

The decision to focus on bullying came when an Ofsted inspector shared his findings about our school. He noted that there have been few incidents of bullying, but there was a discrepancy in the knowledge and understanding of bullying and the extent to which it can affect people’s lives. Therefore, we knew we needed to find an approach that included everyone, provided clear guidance, and retrained both staff and students to address it now and in the future.

It was then that we discovered the All Together program and was assigned to lead the project, which meant that I was responsible for coordinating the school’s approach to anti-bullying and supporting students in leading anti-bullying initiatives.

Training and development

I found that in our school there was little understanding of the definition of bullying, the role people can play in prevention and the impact it can have. Prior to the launch of Anti-Bullying Week, all staff participated in professional development through specific training and completion of the Anti-Bullying Alliance online modules. They have been trained to facilitate resolution circles, emotional coaching and active listening. We have seen dealing with bullying as arguing for any other argument or area of ​​protection.

A crucial factor in the success of the program was also the training of some students to become members of the “Peace Force”. They take part in quarterly meetings to discuss key topics and share their class ideas for dealing with bullying. This year we plan to train them in peer mentoring skills.

School policy

Our anti-bullying policy has been updated and explained to everyone, including parents. The message was clear, we had to work together to address it. We launched an online parenting hub through our website, this gave them access to our updated policy and support videos.

The policy includes strategies to prevent bullying and typical response strategies. In the English lessons, we used quality texts in each class to explore different themes of bullying and bring politics to life. One challenge we faced was exploring the difference between retaliation, revenge, and self-defense. To do this, the students explored the definitions and learned how to defend against bullying appropriately and safely. As a result, students feel empowered and more confident in preventing and responding to bullying.

Data collection and evidence

We now monitor bullying episodes more carefully and log all cases of conflict or retaliation on our online protection system. This allowed us to identify the models. The message to pupils and parents is that we take every incident seriously and by keeping records, planning and monitoring, we can prevent similar incidents from happening again.

What have we achieved?

Following the completion of the All Together program, bullying and conflict have drastically reduced across the school. Students now have the knowledge and understanding to know when something is wrong and how to resolve situations on their own. Pupils’ behavior towards each other has become more empathic and inclusive, showing that they understand that the difference must be celebrated. Our pupils are happier in school knowing that we fully support any bullying concerns raised.

Find out more about prevent bullying.

Visit the Alliance against bullying website, which includes information on the United Anti-Bullying Program, the new school-wide anti-bullying program.

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