Bullying is a serious concern. That’s why this Children’s Mental Health Week (7-13 February 2022), we’ve teamed up with anti-bullying charity Kidscape to highlight practical information and advice on what governors in Wales can do to take action against bullying.
You can also find further resources for governors on supporting the mental health and wellbeing of pupils on our Wellbeing Governors pages.
Taking action against bullying: advice for governors in Wales
Bullying is a serious concern for children in Wales. Research with 103,000 learners in 2017/2018 found 12% had bullied another person once or twice in the past month, 21% had been bullied once or twice in the past month, with 10% bullied at least once a week. Estimates of the prevalence and nature of online bullying found one in five children aged 10 to 15 years in England and Wales (19%) experienced at least one type of online bullying behaviour (ONS, 2020).
Governors have a responsibility to ensure schools are complying with their duty to keep children safe from bullying and harm.
The Welsh Government has made it clear that keeping children safe from bullying should be a priority, with anti-bullying guidance now made statutory.
Kidscape has identified key actions that all governors can take:
- Read Rights, Respect, Equality (RRE): Statutory guidance for governing bodies of maintained schools.
- Understand the relationship between bullying and safeguarding. Under the Children Act 1989, a bullying incident should be addressed as a child protection concern when there is ‘reasonable cause to suspect that a child (or young person) is suffering, or is likely to suffer, significant harm.’ Explore how the school escalates such incidents.
- Know the law in relation to bullying. The RRE guidance includes key regulations.
Check your policies and procedures
- Check that the school has a definition of bullying that aligns with the definition in the RRE guidance.
- Understand that governing bodies are accountable for ensuring effective policies are in place to safeguard children. Nominate a governor to be an anti-bullying lead. Support the senior leadership team with compliance and action.
- Make sure the school anti-bullying policy includes journeys to and from school, and online.
- Make sure the anti-bullying policy is user-friendly and is updated on a regular basis (at least every three years and in response to changes to government policy and directives).
- Make sure the school complaints procedure is publicised and accessible to all.
- Model values and set high expectations. Understand how the school ethos underpins bullying prevention.
- Make sure the school is a safe space for all learners. Explore how the school prevents and responds to prejudice-related bullying.
- Listen to learners. Encourage your school to action an annual survey. Explore how the school supports reporting and recording of bullying incidents.
- Understand the approach to bullying within school inspection. Explore how the school involves learners and parents and carers in self-evaluation in relation to bullying.
Kidscape has been funded by the Welsh Government to deliver free anti-bullying training for governors until July 2022. Find out more by visiting:
 Hewitt G., Anthony R., Moore G., Melendez-Torres G.J., Murphy S. (2019) Student Health and Wellbeing In Wales: Report of the 2017/18 Health Behaviour in School-aged Children Survey and School Health Research Network Student Health and Wellbeing Survey. Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK SHRN-HBSC-NR_31.05.2019.pdf