In 2020 the Office for National Statistics Crime Survey for England and Wales found that over 40% of children aged between 10 and 15 experienced some form of bullying either online, in school or on their journey either to or from school. These shocking and unacceptable figures tell us how normal it is for children in England and Wales to find themselves on the receiving end of the types of bullying behaviour detailed above.
King Edward's works with and supports the values and principles of the Anti-Bullying Alliance
The Anti-Bullying Alliance and National Office for Statistics Research into bullying provides clear definitions of what bullying behaviour looks and feels like but they also define what bullying isn't.
This latter point might seem strange but the first step in bullying is to accurately define what it is so we can identify behaviours and situations that are abnormal for the age and social situation that the child is in. The Anti-Bullying Alliance defines bullying as:
"Bullying is the repetitive, intentional hurting of one person or group by another person or group, where the relationship involves an imbalance of power. It can happen face to face or online"
Research undertaken in Finland by Christina Salmivalli (1996) provides a greater understanding of the roles involved in bullying. It showed that the traditional view of bullying where there is a ‘victim’ and a ‘bully’ was much more complicated. Bullying rarely takes place between a person, the 'victim', and another person, the 'bully'. Instead the research showed that bullying tends to be a group behaviour.
You can see more about what does and doesn't constitute bullying behaviour on their website here and they also help identify the types of behaviour that often get labelled as bullying because they cause upset but don't meet the criteria for bullying. The anti-bullying alliance cautions schools, teachers, pupils and parents to think carefully about jumping to conclusions and labelling normal, age related, conflict between friends as bullying. At different ages and times all children experience the normal type of relationship conflicts identified by the Anti-Bullying Alliance below:
Falling out with friends or friendship groups.
Emotional overreactions to normal age related friendship disagreements.
Difficulties establishing friendships and relationships.
At King Edward's we have carefully written our Anti-Bullying Policy around these principles and based our approach on the research and advice of the Anti-Bullying Alliance. Central to this is ensuring that through our curriculum and day to day actions we take action to support students with a restorative approach as soon as we are alerted to problems. You can see our Anti-Bullying policy here and how our King Edward's Support Hub works with students who are experiencing relationship conflict and bullying. Our team includes experienced Counsellors, Emotional Learning Support Assistants all of whom work closely with outside agencies to support students.
We also monitor, record and analyse all behavioural incidents through the use of apps like My Concern, SIMS Behaviour Manager, our Bullying@ email and pupil and parent declarations. Our experienced Head of Year and pastoral team led by Mr Robertson, Deputy Head Pastoral , along with the KESH team then work to distinguish age normal conflict, social immaturity, relationship forming difficulties, and friendship conflict from abnormal bullying behaviour where there is evidence of:
"the repetitive, intentional hurting of one person or group by another person or group,
where the relationship involves an imbalance of power "
Finally, we also take the temperature via our regular student surveys to ask about behaviour around our site. Our last student survey had a high take up from students and helps to guide our team to identify any trends or issues that we use to adapt or amend our curriculum, pastoral work or assemblies.
King Edward's works hard to support and educate all children in learning how to handle and manage normal relationship conflict appropriately. We are slow to label socially immature behaviour or emotional overreactions as bullying because this is unhelpful to everyone involved. Instead we manage, support, re-educate, listen, and try to restore relationships and educate about behaviour strategies whilst looking out carefully for the rarer types of abnormal age related behaviour that does meet the Anti-Bullying Alliance's and King Edward's definition of bullying. Read our policy here.