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cyberbullying: advice for headteachers and school staff

26 January 2015

Who is this advice for?

This is non-statutory advice from the Department for Education for headteachers and all school staff on how to protect themselves from cyberbullying and how to tackle it if it happens.

It also includes advice on how staff can manage their own social media presence and what to do with friend requests from past and present pupils.

Overview

It is important that schools take measures to prevent and tackle bullying among pupils. But it is equally important that schools make it clear that bullying of staff, whether by pupils, parents or colleagues, is unacceptable. Evidence indicates that one in five (21%) teachers have reported having derogatory comments posted about them on social media sites from both parents and children.

School leaders, teachers, school staff, parents and pupils all have rights and responsibilities in relation to cyberbullying and should work together to create an environment in which pupils can learn and develop and staff can have fulfilling careers free from harassment and bullying.

Schools can offer support to parents on how to help their children engage safely and responsibly with social media, perhaps through a parents’ evening, advice in a school newsletter or signposting to other sources of support and advice. Creating a good school-parent relationship can help create an atmosphere of trust that encourages parents to raise concerns in an appropriate manner. Part of this is making sure that parents and carers are aware and understand how to communicate with the school. Schools should also make clear that it is not acceptable for pupils, parents or colleagues to denigrate and bully school staff via social media in the same way that it is unacceptable to do so face to face.

Schools should encourage all members of the school community including parents to use social media responsibly. Parents have a right to raise concerns about the education of their child, but they should do so in an appropriate manner.

Read the full guidance here

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