Newsletter 7, Winter 2003 Anti-Bullying Network
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Raising the Standard

Anti-Bullying flags are now being flown over schools throughout Scotland. Staff, pupils and parents can rightly take pride in the fact that a once ignored problem is now openly acknowledged and various strategies for reducing it are being implemented. The change in the ethos of schools and the improved learning opportunities which result from this are obvious. However, not all schools are moving forward at the same rate. Is the next logical step therefore to describe a minimum standard of anti-bullying policy that all schools should meet?

This edition of the ‘Anti-Bullying Network News’ looks at some initiatives which are moving towards just that. Many Scottish local authorities, such as Renfrew (see section 3) have recently updated their policies. Some local authorities in England, such as Durham (see section 4), have set up “Kite Mark” schemes which reward schools which have anti-bullying policies that meet a set of criteria.

However, there are good reasons why the setting of a minimum standard has been avoided in Scotland up to now. Perhaps the most important of these is the worry that, for a few schools, the minimum might become the maximum to which they would aspire. Also, it should be remembered that the development of anti-bullying strategies is at a relatively early stage – if we set a minimum today it would have to be revised very soon to take account of the many new ideas being developed in schools across the country.

Our discussion paper ‘Reasonable Expectations’ (see section 2) looks at the standards set by the law and by Scottish school inspectors. It attempts to describe what can reasonably be expected of a school’s anti-bullying policy in the light of the law, government advice and research evidence as they exist today. We hope that this will help parents and pupils to be clear about what they have a right to expect of their schools; and we hope that it will be helpful to those teachers who are struggling to deal with complicated bullying issues and with the concern of parents who believe that teachers have not done enough to protect their child.

No school can guarantee that a pupil will never be bullied. To expect so would be unreasonable. But it would be equally unreasonable to defend a school that did not take advantage of the Andrew Mellormountain of advice and resources about tackling bullying which is now available. Maybe it is time to set a minimum standard which all schools should meet, but this cannot be fixed. It will be pulled ever upwards by the example of those schools where raising the standard of pupil care and improving school ethos is seen as being inextricable from raising the standard of attainment.

Andrew Mellor
Manager of the ABN and the
Scottish Schools Ethos Network


Newsletter Contents

Section 1
- including 'Challenging Homophobia Head On' and a new bullying leaflet for the gypsy and traveller children and their families.
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Section 2
ABN News
- including our searchable database of research, information on conferences and our 'Reasonable Expectations' paper on the obligations of local authorities and schools in relation to bullying.
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Section 3
What's Happening in Your School?

- examples of some of the strategies being employed across Scotland to tackle bullying.
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Section 4
Other UK News

- including Marianne Taylor of Durham Anti-Bullying Service looking at a new accreditation scheme for schools and a research focus on the long-term effects of bullying.
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Section 5
Surf Board

- our page of links to useful websites and organisations.
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This newsletter was edited by Kate Betney and Meg Cowie and designed by MALTS.

Anti-Bullying Network
Moray House School of Education
The University of Edinburgh
Holyrood Road
Edinburgh EH8 8AQ
Tel/Fax 0131 651 6100


 © Anti-Bullying Network, 2003