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Marianne Taylor, Senior Educational Psychologist with the Durham Anti-Bullying Service, looks at a new accreditation scheme for schools.

Durham LEA had had a long-term commitment to preventing bullying in schools and was one of the first LEAs to introduce a policy aimed at reducing bullying in schools. A project to reduce bullying has been funded since 1995 and had a huge boost in 2002 when half a million pounds of funding was secured from the European Social Fund. This has enabled the Service to provide an anti-bullying officer to work in every secondary school on a weekly basis. Peer support schemes have been extended and all pupils have had access to individual support.

From this, a recent development has been the adoption of an accreditation scheme for schools which was launched by Esther Rantzen in July 2003. Schools are invited to apply for accreditation when they have evidence that they can meet certain criteria.

The agreed criteria are as follows:

The establishment of an anti-bullying interest group within school involving staff, pupils and community link personnel.
An annually-reviewed anti-bullying policy that provides specific information as to what the school is currently doing to support vulnerable youngsters.
A school commitment to access and support relevant agencies such as the anti-bullying service.
The establishment of a peer support scheme within the school.
An annual anti-bullying awareness-raising day coordinated with other schools.

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We have learnt that policy is not enough and that there is no single strategy that is effective in all situations. Bullying remains an issue which must be confronted regularly. Awareness raising by a variety of different methods can help to maintain an anti-bullying profile within schools and this can promote good citizenship and an atmosphere of telling and listening.

Accreditation is therefore a framework to create a system of both supporting schools to develop anti-bullying systems and cultures within our schools and also to measure how successful they are in achieving this.

For more information about Durham's Anti-Bullying Service, please visit this website, or contact Marianne Taylor by email.

Accreditated schools receive a certificate.

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Bullying: effective action in secondary schools

‘Schools with most successful approaches to bullying canvassed and took full account of pupils’ views and they dedicated curriculum and tutorial time to discussing relationships and matters like bullying’.

Since September 1999, schools in England have specific duties to combat bullying:

Schools must have anti-bullying policies and procedures
Local education authorities must ensure that their schools comply with these duties

Poster by a pupil at St Luke's High School, East RenfrewshireThis 32 page survey, published in March 2003 by Ofsted, is based on visits by Her Majesty’s Inspectors (HMI) to LEAs and schools in 2001/02, which focused on strategies to reduce incidents of bullying, to support victims and to challenge bullying behaviour. It includes sections on: main findings, bullying and its effects, combating bullying, LEA support and a conclusion. See the OFSTED website. For copies contact Ofsted Publications Centre, tel 07002 637 833 fax 07002 693 274, or email. Document reference number HMI 465

 
   

The Long Term Effects of Bullying

Karen RobsonKaren Robson
The Institute for Social and Economic Research
The University of Essex

There is increasing awareness that being bullied can be an extremely traumatising experience for a child. This can largely be attributed to the hard work of anti-bullying organisations like the ABN, the efforts made by the Scottish Executive Education Department and the Department for Education and Skills, and media attention to the recent victims of ‘bullycide’. It is unacceptable to dismiss being bullied as a character building experience or a rite of passage that a few unlucky children experience. Considerable research has demonstrated that bullying victims suffer emotional, psychological, and physical harm as a result of their victimisation. My recent research findings suggest that these experiences do not fade away after the bullying stops. In a study of over sixteen thousand British children born in 1970, I found that children who were poorly integrated at age ten still suffered effects of these experiences almost twenty years later. Alienated children were more likely to become adults who had difficulty forming relationships and were less likely to have gone on to obtain a university degree. I also found evidence that poor integration in childhood contributed to adult depression. It is therefore important to stop the bullying not only to promote and protect the child’s welfare, but also to give that child the chance to achieve his/her full potential as an adult.

For more information about this research please see the full report in pdf or contact Karen Robson, Senior Research Officer by email.


ABN NOTE:
This research study has found that being rejected/victimised by peers in childhood can have long term effects. The ABN bullybox (www.antibullying.net/bullyboxintro.htm) receives messages from adults who feel they are still suffering as a result of bullying experiences in childhood. However we also receive emails from adults and young people who feel positively about their future and who want to send messages of support and encouragement to children presently going through the nightmare of bullying. For information about other studies which look at the short and long term effects of bullying please see our new research section ‘Bullying – Questions and Answers’.

 © Anti-Bullying Network, 2003