Anytown Academy Case Study Anti-Bullying Network
   
This case study of an imaginary Scottish secondary school is intended to trigger discussion amongst staff and pupils about the way that the response to bullying could be improved. Schools and local authorities are welcome to reproduce and use this case study. Please mention the Anti-Bullying Network.

CASE STUDY: ANTI-BULLYING AT ANYTOWN ACADEMY

Anytown Academy has an anti-bullying policy which was written about five years ago by a committee of ten people consisting of the Depute Head, the Head Boy and Head Girl and the school's guidance teachers. Only four of the committee are still at the school. There is a buddy scheme designed to support new pupils and there are three lessons about bullying within the S1 PSE programme.

There is a pupil council which spends most of its time discussing the toilets, ("boggin" - Jim Brown S1), school dinners ("the salad is mingin" - Eilidh Harris, S3), uniform ("I'd wear it if it wasn't that yucky maroon colour" - Jane McIntosh, S4) and discos ("We would come if there was a decent band" - Kuldip Singh, S5). Bullying has never been on the agenda.

Anytown is said to be a happy school. It has a good reputation. Its pupils are very successful in Standard Grade and Higher exams. Most of the pupils enjoy being there, but a few are picked on constantly. Everyone knows about it and the guidance teachers try to help. The Depute, Mr Spencer, deals with any serious or violent incidents, although these are very rare. Pupils call him Mr Suspension - but only behind his back.

There are copies of anti-bullying materials in the school library and the guidance base. There is a paragraph about bullying in the school handbook which is given to every pupil at the start of each school year:-

All pupils at Anytown Academy are entitled to be educated in an atmosphere that is free from fear. A pupil will not achieve his or her full potential if he or she is worried about being attacked, physically or verbally, by other pupils.

  • No one at the school should ever try to hurt anyone else by any form of bullying, including hitting, kicking or verbal abuse.
  • Anyone who is being bullied, or who knows of someone else who is being bullied, has a duty to tell a teacher about this.
  • Teachers will treat all reports of bullying seriously.

The Local Authority held an anti-bullying workshop about two years ago which was attended by an assistant head teacher and a guidance teacher from Anytown Academy. They were given copies of the local authority policy on bullying which required all schools to develop their own policies and to consult all members of staff, parents and pupils about the contents of that policy.

John Fairbairn (S2) isn't in school today. He is in hospital. His mother found him in bed at 8 o'clock last evening. Luckily she spotted the empty pill bottle and called an ambulance at once. He is going to be OK but he says he is never going back to Anytown Academy.

  • Read and discuss the case study about anti-bullying at Anytown Academy.
  • It is intended to help you start thinking about how bullying is tackled in your school. Are there any similarities with your school?
  • Consider the way that your school tackles bullying at present and list strengths and weaknesses. i.e. what is good and what is bad about the anti-bullying policy in your school?
  • You should also make a list of recommendations. These could be general recommendations, or specific ones for the Scottish Executive, the Local Authority, your Head Teacher, teachers young people or parents.