How Teachers Can Support A Student That is Being Bullied


With Anti-Bullying week behind us, it is important for us as educators to recognise that bullying is regrettably, something that happens all year round. A student being bullied is an awful experience, that can influence their emotions, confidence, education and social skills, so it is very important as a teacher and school you can support children if this happens to them. This is of course not an easy task and you may be wondering how to do this. 

Below are some examples of what to do and how to identify a bullied student.


How To Identify A Student That Is Being Bullied:

Teachers will be on the school site during the day but a large proportion of bullying is done online. In fact it is reported that cyberbullying is teacher’s number one safety concern in the classroom according to a Online Safety Google Survey. Here are some signs that your students may be victims of bullying whether it is in person or online:

• The student is often on their own on the playground and in class

• Their academic performance has changed with no obvious identifiable reason as to why

• You can visually see they are being picked on

• They are more quiet or withdrawn than usual

• The student often misses school

• The student is behaving in a negative way, differently to their usual behaviour.

• They clearly try to avoid certain students

• They appear emotional or upset

• There is a change in their behaviour or mood after a break or after they have checked their phone


What Can You Do To Help:

Look out for signs that certain students may be being bullied in school or online. If you notice particular students making comments or bullying actions towards a child make a log. This way you can see if it is isolated incidents or if this is a repetitive behaviour which will classify as bullying. You will need to take incidents of bullying to SLT and when you speak to them they will ask for evidence as this is a serious matter and therefore it is best to be prepared. If you believe that a student is being bullied then talk to the child in an attempt to open a dialogue about the situation. They may be reluctant at first but it is best to be patient. Make them aware that you are aware. Let them know they can come to you but also give them time to come to you. They may not want to at first. If they don’t and you notice the pattern of bullying continue, it is then a good idea to approach the subject with them. Inform the child that they have done the right thing and you  know how difficult it must have been to come forward. Tell them that you will be talking to the headteacher or other members of SLT as that is what will help solve the problem and keep them safe. Be honest with the child, let them know that the situation might not get fixed immediately but from here on it will be better and the journey to fixing this situation has begun. Let them know what you will do immediately – such as move their seat away from the bully or allowing them to stay in at play, so they can see an immediate resolve but inform them that although they may not see everything you are doing there will be things in place and things being done to help. Let them know they can ask you about this any time and you will keep them updated.

 Find out if their parents are aware and if not let the child know that the school will be speaking to them. Before speaking with SLT, try to get as much information as you can from the student so you are informed of the situation. If the student is withholding information it is vital you use the logs you have created, as mentioned above, as the evidence you need to bring this situation to light. It is important that you refer to your Anti-Bullying policies within school. Let the child know that you may need to inform their parents of what is happening. This can be a difficult conversation to have especially if the parents are unaware. This is however something SLT will be able to help you with or may even do themselves, depending on your school’s anti-bullying policy. It is important when speaking to parents that you do not mention who the bully is as this can aggravate the situation – their child may tell them but you cannot. 

Speak to the bully to see why they are behaving this way, as it is often something from their own life causing the bad behaviour. Try and avoid embarrassing the student who is being bullied or worsening the situation. Telling the student what you have noticed rather than informing them that have been ‘told on’ is a better way to approach this subject without worsening the situation. The bully may be defensive as this will be a difficult conversation for them. Try to not bring too much judgement to the conversation as if the bully is experiencing hardships of their own you need to be that safe adult they can trust.

Encourage students you trust to welcome the bullied student into sitting with them, or hanging around with them at lunch breaks. Try and keep the bully far away from the student, if they are in many classes together, the school should consider moving one of them to different classes where possible. 

As teachers and school staff we have a duty to keep children safe and to look after their wellbeing. Although bullying is sometimes out of our control, the steps we take to resolve it can make a huge difference to the lives of each party affected. If you are ever unsure of what to do refer to your school’s anti-bullying policy or speak to a member of SLT for further advice. 


Helplines

ChildLine - 0800 1111

Direct Gov

EACH - 0808 1000 143 

Victim Support - 08 08 16 89 111 

National Bullying Helpline - Helpline: 0300 323 0169 Telephone: 0845 225 5787. They also have a vast range of guides and resources of how to deal with bullying for all parties.

Sources 

National Bullying Helpline

UK Government

Anti-Bullying Alliance


Bullying can affect your child’s mental health, however, there a things you can do to help. Check out our blog Children's Mental Health Week 2022.


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