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Dealing with bullying

9 January 2013

Headteacher Peter Tait of Sherborne Preparatory School has courted controversy by suggesting victims of school bullying need to “learn not to be weak” and suggests schools should focus on working with parents to “bully-proof” pupils by “building their self-confidence and giving them a measure of resilience to cope on their own”.

Tackling bullying is high on Ofsted’s agenda and a central part of its new framework. Whilst encouraging pupils to develop self-confidence and resilience can be an effective prevention strategy, schools should ensure pupils are not inadvertently encouraged to tolerate bullying and that both pupils and parents feel confident in reporting incidents of bullying or harassment to schools. Failure to do so leaves schools open to censure and potentially costly claims from victims.

Whilst most schools will have established anti-bullying policies and procedures in place, these need to be regularly audited to monitor their effectiveness and ensure they remain fit for purpose. Ofsted also expects all incidents of bullying to be investigated and fully recorded.

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