Newsletter 4, Winter, 2000. Anti-Bullying Network
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Newsletter 3 Here! Research comes in all shapes and sizes. Some studies involve large scale trials of anti-bullying programmes, such as those developed by Dan Olweus in Norway. This kind of research involves the careful selection of experimental and 'control' schools and a range of measures to assess the extent to which programmes have been successful in raising awareness about bullying and in providing effective responses to it. From this kind of research, claims about the effectiveness of particular kinds of interventions can be made, backed up by statistical information.

Other studies survey the nature and extent of bullying in schools and provide important information about this, exploring differences between the extent of bullying reported in primary and secondary schools, for instance, or between boys and girls. Andrew Mellor, the current manager of the Network, carried out one of the first kind of these studies in Scotland.

Research Materials
Copies of a bully/victim questionnaire, computer software to assist data analysis and a handbook for teachers can be purchased from Professor Dan Olweus.
Contact:

Dan Olweus, Professor of Psychology, The HEIML-Center, UiB Christies Gate 13, N-5015 Bergen, Norway
Telephone:
+(47) 55 58 23 27 or +(47) 55 29 36 12
Email:
Olweus@psych.uib.no
  Teachers and Pupils Working Together Other studies, again, focus on the personality and other characteristics of bullies and victims and use the information gained to develop particular interventions aimed at, say, raising the self esteem of victims, or developing skills of empathy for victims in bullies.

There are many small scale but equally important studies taking place in individual schools. Many of these are using an action research approach of recognising a problem, developing a course of action and researching its impact on the problem.

Anti-Bullying InfoLine, 0131 651 6100 This kind of work is usually collaborative, involving a group of teachers, or pupils and teachers (and sometimes parents, psychologists or others) working together to identify a problem and ways of tackling it.

We would love to hear from you if you are involved in this kind of work, trying out ideas to tackle bullying and researching its effectiveness. For the work to count as research - rather than opinion or polemic - there needs to be robust evidence of how the idea is working. This might be perceptions of pupils, or observations of the way in which bullying incidents are handled, for example.

In this issue of Network news, we are launching a new, regular feature. We want to highlight action research projects but will also be interested in other kinds of research. Don't be shy and don't keep your results to yourself! The network exists to share information and ideas. We look forward to hearing from you.

Pamel Munn

Pamela Munn, Network Director

 

 

Coping with Bullying
Simon Hunter is carrying out research at the University of Strathclyde - his aim is to find out which coping strategies used naturally by the victims of bullying are most effective, not only for stopping bullying but also for reducing distress. Teachers and others who are interested should contact Simon for more information.
Contact: simon.hunter@strath.ac.uk

Research Letter
The first of our new regular research features is a letter all the way from New Zealand!

Dear Andrew,Dorothea and Aileen

Is there any research that you know of that backs up the stand of promoting a positive school ethos as an effective way of reducing bullying? We all know this to be so, but we're wondering if there is some proof so to speak!

Warm regards,

Dorothea Lewis and Aileen Cheshire (who support the Anti-Harassment Team at Selwyn College, New Zealand, www.aht-selwyn.school.nz).

Dear Dorothea and Aileen,
The simple questions are always the hardest. The honest answer is that it is difficult to isolate all possible causes when interpreting the changing incidence of bullying. Did it reduce because of what we did or because of other factors? If it has increased, is that because our intervention failed or because society in general is becoming more violent? Could it be that what we usually measure is the reported rather than the true level of bullying? An apparent increase could mean that we have created an open ethos in which problems are discussed rather than buried.

Dan Olweus carried out research which found a significant reduction in the level of bullying after the introduction of a school-based intervention programme in Bergen, Norway in the 1980s. This programme contained elements which were similar to those in many 'positive ethos' programmes. For example, Olweus talks about 'restructuring the social environment', regular class meetings with students', 'class PTA meetings' etc (for details of this and other research see The Nature of School Bullying - A Cross-National Perspective, edited by PK Smith et al, Routledge 1999).

I believe that the best way to reduce bullying is to strive to create a positive, non-abusive atmosphere in schools. The challenge that lies ahead is to develop and to evaluate ways of achieving this - which is why work like yours is so important.

With very best wishes,

Andrew Mellor


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The Anti-Bullying Network has contacts all over the world, with parents, teachers, young people, researchers and developers. Here, a parent of a bullied child, a primary school pupil, a secondary school pupil and a teacher write about networking in real terms - how information that we have provided, initiatives we have suggested or people we have put them in touch with have helped them to combat bullying or share their ideas.

A Secondary School Pupil's View
by Catherine Nixon, S6, Hermitage Academy

Hermitage Academy's own Peer Support scheme has benefited vastly from recent networking, which has led to subsequent use of anti-bullying initiatives, an increase in knowledge and new ideas supplied Members of FAB at Hermitage Academyto its weekly meeting sessions. Friends Against Bullying (FAB) has operated in the school since 1994 and it continually strives to succeed in its goals of reducing bullying through a 'no-blame' approach.

All members, be they sixth-year pupils or staff members, feel that any new approaches that can be used to build on the existing policies can only be beneficial.

FAB has used several of the Anti-Bullying Network's specific suggestions: 'drop-in clubs' where younger pupils can express concerns and talk in confidence to older pupils; the routine patrolling of problematic areas of the school and the implementation of 'bully boxes'. All FAB members have also been involved in discussions about such topics as homophobic bullying and many others found through the Network's conferences, newsletters and links to web sites.
Contact: Morag McDonald, APT Guidance, Hermitage Academy, Tel: 01436 672145

 

A Primary School Pupil's View
by Jamie Bowie, P7, Central Primary School

At the Inverness Conference we told people how we use the Anti-Bullying Network to spread our school's ideas.Jamie Bowie

Our behaviour policy plays an important part in the school's Anti-Bullying strategies, letting pupils know where they're going right and wrong. Pupils get rewarded for good behaviour but pupils who have difficulty behaving are supported through steps to better behaviour. From this approach to behaviour the Pupil Council was formed giving pupils a voice. Then 'Peer Mediation' was developed. Through this pupils are helped by older pupils to solve their problems.

'Buddies' is an important project. In our internal network the 'primary ones' choose a 'primary seven'. The 'primary seven' looks after their buddy, helping them gain responsibility and trust. The 'primary ones' gain confidence and friendship skills. I enjoy being part of the network both in and outwith the school, sharing ideas and telling others about our good work.
Contact: Mrs Gilroy, Head Teacher, Central Primary School, Inverness, Tel: 01463 233906

 

A Teacher's View
by Moira Heatly, Depute Head Teacher, Craigentinny Primary School

Craigentinny, like many Scottish schools, prides itself on its positive ethos and has over the last few years developed many Heather Darcystrategies to make the school a safe and happy place for our children, including an anti-bullying policy.

As a result of an initial contact with the Anti-Bullying Network, we were asked to pilot a programme called PeaceBuilders. This programme brings together all the strategies already in place within the school to promote positive behaviour and anti-bullying into a single framework and develops a common language and a consistency of approach throughout the school. Through this programme, our network is now world-wide. Our children are establishing email links with other schools in the USA and Australia who are also developing the PeaceBuilders programme.

Our Primary 6 Peace Coaches, known as Craigie Crew, were asked to evaluate their role in the playground and unanimously agreed that there was 'less fighting among the wee ones, less people on their own and more friendly children'. And the one thing which they were having trouble with? 'How do we keep the wee ones out of the puddles?'.
Contact: Moira Heatly, Craigentinny Primary School, Tel: 0131 661 2749

 

A Parent's View
by Liz Dunbar, Families Against Bullying

The Anti-Bullying Network helps me to contact other parents whose children have been bullied. I managed to find help for my son when he was severely bullied but where was the help for me?

Families Against Bullying has been formed by a group of parents in Perth. Our aim is to promote a better awareness of bullying both in school and outside, to support other parents and to try to find a solution to this growing problem. We are backed by Perth and Kinross Council through its Education and Childcare Services. We meet on a regular basis to offer each other support and we hold meetings with various agencies in order to find the best way forward for individual cases. We promote the services of the Anti-Bullying Network and work closely with the Parent Liaison Team and the Youth Enquiry Service.

If you want to find out more about our group, or just want to speak to people who understand the damage that bullying can do to families, please get in touch.
Contact: Liz Dunbar, Families Against Bullying, Tel: 01738 563044


Peer Mediation in Schools
Peer Mediation combines the well-tested process of mediation with the concept of peer support in order to address the kind of relationship problems that can result in misery for children and time-consuming work for staff. Mediation is rewarding but brings with it responsibilities for young mediators and staff; a successful service requires careful planning as well as appropriate training and support.

This year's Ethos Award winners, Craigie High School in Dundee, were commended for (amongst other positive developments) their recently introduced Peer Mediation service. This was based on a model developed in St. Andrew's High School, Kirkcaldy, which is now in its fourth year of operation there. Richard Hendry, who introduced the model at St. Andrew's High, is currently available for consultancy and training on an independent basis, to help Primary and Secondary schools establish their own tailor-made services.

Contact: Richard Hendry, Eclipse Educational Consultancy, Whitefield Place, Lomond Road, Freuchie, Fife KY15 7HF. Telephone: 01337 858473. Email: eclipse.rh@btinternet.com

Refugee Pupils in Scottish Schools
The dilemmas facing refugee pupils and their parents in Scottish schools have been highlighted through research conducted between 1997 and 1999 by Rowena Arshad, Alison Closs and Joan Stead of the University of Edinburgh. Details of the study can be found in Spotlight 74: Refugee Pupils in Scottish Schools, available on the website of the Scottish Council for Research in Education.

Two more detailed documents can also be purchased. The full report (The School Experience of Refugee Children in Scotland) is available from Dr Joan Stead at ESSE (Telephone 0131 651 6221) and the summary report (Doing our Best: Scottish School Education, Refugee Pupils and Parents - a Strategy for Social Inclusion) is available from the Centre for Racial Equality in Scotland (Telephone 0131 651 6371).

We would like to hear from schools about any bullying involving refugee pupils with a view to developing case studies for use on our website.

Please call us on 0131 651 6100 or email abn@education.ed.ac.uk

The Peer Support Forum
Peer support enhances and develops the social and emotional well-being of children and young people in Scotland. The Peer Support Forum is a national support network for schools running peer support projects. For more information, visit the forum's website.
 
Families Get Involved
Families Against Bullying is a voluntary organisation based in Hartlepool, England (please note that it is different from the Scottish organisation of the same name mentioned above). Supported by Kidscape, the local MP and many others, FAB provides 'free, confidential emotional and practical support and information to victims of school bullying and their families'. There is also a telephone helpline and a series of publications available.

Contact: Paul McFarlane, Chairman, Families Against Bullying, Unit 15, Enterprise House, Thomlinson Road, Longhill Industrial Estate South, Hartlepool, England TS25 1NS. Telephone: 01429 283655


Call for Contributions
We recently sent out flyers inviting schools to make a contribution to our annual conference, which is being held in Glasgow on the 1st of June 2001.

The conference is based around the theme of Pupil Participation and we anticipate a successful event with relevant keynotes, informative workshops, colourful displays and expressive arts contributions. If you would like to find out more, please call the Anti-Bullying Network on 0131 651 6100 or email kate.sneddon@education.ed.ac.uk

We would like to remind everyone that the closing date for contribution proposals is the 31st March 2001.


Notice Board

Surf the NET!
In each newsletter we aim to feature a series of links to sites about bullying and associated topics. If you know of any useful sites out there then please let us know!
 
An Australian site based around the idea of 'Peace Programs'. It offers a short quiz and suggestions for programme implementation, as well as articles, abstracts and suggestions for further reading Go surf it!
   
A Canadian community policing site - 'Street Smarting Your Child'. Aimed at parents, teachers and child care workers, the site covers such topics as child protection, suggestions  for handling teasing and put-downs and ideas for self-esteem development. Go surf it!
   
A great example of how pupils can get involved in anti-bullying initiatives. Originally developed as a class project for Year 8 pupils from Miami State High School in Australia, this site features advice for students and parents, an explanation from the teacher and links to many other sites. Go surf it!
   
Site from the US National Crime Prevention Council that offers useful suggestions for parents. Go surf it!
   
A site from the Australian organisation Kids Help Line. Has links and advice for kids, parents and schools, as well as describing a major anti-bullying campaign, launched earlier this year by Kelloggs Cereals and the Australian Primary Principals Association. It is also worth having a look here - this page has links to infosheets, publications, research and other bullying sites, as well as leading to sections of the site covering other topical issues for young people. Go surf it!
 
An Australian site concerned with the empowerment of women. There is a specific section about bullying within "Leading Issues" that contains interesting papers and a forum for sharing experiences. Go surf it!
   
This site looks at "the nature and prevelance of bullying in elementary schools" and includes a summary of a master's thesis (looking at bullying in schools in Western Canada), a useful review of relevant research, questionnaires for pupils and teachers and a summary ot the results of the study. Go surf it!