My Catchphrases

Friday, 19 November 2010

Guest Post: Bullying: A Teachers Perspective by Kirsty at The Overflowing Library

One of the things that can make or break a child's experience at school, whether they are successful and achieve within their potential, is if they feel safe happy and secure if their environment. Sadly bullying can be one of those things that mean a young adult feels threatened and insecure in their surroundings. Having worked in a variety of school I'm glad to say all of them recognise this is an area that needs addressing and I have seen a variety of ways it has been dealt with (some more successfully than others). In this post I am going to tell you how the school I currently work in deals with bullying with a notable level of success.
To start with I am lucky I work in a good school. Most of the kids want to be there and there aren't any major problems with behaviour or discipline (they aren't always angels either). Over the past few years we have gained a reputation for being a school that does not tolerate bullying and as a consequence we often gain quite a few children over the year who have struggled at other schools.
I think this is down to two reasons:

Firstly we had a lovely head teacher, whom as a younger man had experienced bullying, as a consequence had not time for it himself, even going to the point of never shouting at the kids himself. I think this set the tone of our school which had continued since he left a few years back.

Secondly the anti bullying policy that is in place works well. Obviously hard core cases are dealt with Heads of House and not tolerated in any way shape or form. These are few and far between and not the type of bullying problem most children encounter at some point in their life. For the day to day minor (but equally traumatic) problems a peer support system has been put in place in school called Friendly Faces. It has been in place for about 7 years now and is award winningly successful in keeping our school a bullying free environment.
Friendly faces is run by a group of Year 11 coordinators. Their job is to manage the day to day running of the scheme. To be a coordinator they have to have served as a Friendly Face for a year in Year 10 and apply and interview for the position. Under them there are around 40 Friendly Face pupils who are all Year 10. They man the Friendly Face base and are on duty once a fortnight at either break or lunch and are available for other pupils to drop in (or make appointments) to discuss problems including, but not limited to, bullying. If a problem is reported to them, they often get both parties together and try to resolve the issues that exist. Most of the time it works and the problem is dealt with. On occasions when it isn't they pass the problem on to a member of staff who will help out. To become a Friendly Face they have to apply, then go through a day of training run by the coordinators. If they impress the coordinators they are invited to be a Friendly Face. The positions are very sought after within the school with a variety of pupils applying (not just the geeky ones) and pupils can lose their positions if they abuse it. Friendly Faces keep records of all the problem they deal with and are expected to respect confidentiality of all those involved.

Another thing that Friendly Faces also do is they help with the transition of pupils from primary to secondary school. This can be a concern for pupils and parent's alike, especially as we have tiny feeder schools and the change can be unnerving. To help with this a Friendly Face Roadshow goes out to visit each of the primary schools in the June before they are due to arrive and they talk and play games with the year 6 pupils to help ease any worries they might have about the move to High School. They produce a pack of useful information to take away and are around on the following induction days when the year 6 pupils first come to high school.

All in all it is a system that I would high recommend. It works well and as I said earlier is award winning. For the past 5 years the Friendly Face team have won the Princess Diana Award, and 2 years ago they won the prestigious Philip Lawrence Award for their work. I think it is effective as it is primarily based on a peer support network and breeds a ethos of zero tolerance amongst the student body and have proved to be the main reason why pupils flock to our school and feel safe and secure in their environment.

Thank you for that insight into the Bullying Policy implemented at your school. It is lovely to see a school where the pupils take ownership of the anti-bullying policy so well. Awards are well deserved. Well Done.


  1. i did mean to add if there are any teachers out there who are interested in finding out more about the scheme just drop me a line via my blog. I am new at the system having only just taken it on but I am working very closely with the lady who ran it before me!

  2. What an excellent post sharing what works. Anything that prevents or helps against bullying is a good thing in my book :) Thanks Kirsty!


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