Parents are usually very protective of their children so if their child comes home complaining of being bullied it's not surprising that they're concerned.
They may be very upset and storm into school demanding to know what you are going to do about the problem.
We advise parents not to do that because if they were not aware of the problem the class teacher or head of year was probably not aware of it either. You can read the advice we give to parents here.
If after hearing a brief outline of the complaint, it's not convenient for you to discuss the matter, ask the parent to come back to see you at another time when you can talk about it in more detail.
Parents are sometimes unclear themselves...
When a pupil tells you that he/she is being bullied it's important to gather all the facts from both sides. This includes talking to the bully and any witnesses.
Bullies will often not act alone and it's important to remember that you may be dealing with a number of pupils who are friends and who may give similar versions of events that differ to that of the victim.
You will know from your own experience of the students who is friends with who and can use this as a way of assessing the accuracy of what you are being told.
How to find out the real story
Try to interview the pupils accused of bullying in such a way that they don't have the opportunity to get together to make up stories.
Bullying causes intense misery and many pupils who email Bullying UK say they are self harming or have made suicide attempts.
Large numbers of pupils who contact us, girls in particular, are at home because they are afraid or can't face going to school.
The classroom teacher in a primary school and the form tutor in a secondary school have a vital role to play in identifying bullying and nipping it in the bud before it escalates.
Boys and girls bully in different ways but both are skilled manipulators, often lying their way out of situations and turning the tables on their victim. It's common for problems in the community between neighbours and relatives to spill over into school disputes...
Supporting your community
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