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
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.
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.
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 schools
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.
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 mountain
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.
Manager of the ABN and the
Scottish Schools Ethos Network
- including 'Challenging Homophobia Head On' and
a new bullying leaflet for the gypsy and traveller children
and their families.
including our searchable database of research, information
on conferences and our 'Reasonable Expectations' paper on
the obligations of local authorities and schools in relation
What's Happening in Your School?
- examples of some of the strategies being employed
across Scotland to tackle bullying.
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.
- our page of links to useful websites and organisations.
newsletter was edited by Kate Betney and Meg Cowie and designed
Moray House School of Education
The University of Edinburgh
Edinburgh EH8 8AQ
Tel/Fax 0131 651 6100