Dealing with bullying

Disabled children and young people are more likely than their peers to be bullied. Schools have an obligation to recognise, address and prevent all forms of bullying. What are some practical, realistic solutions schools can use to reduce this behaviour? The prevalence of bullying in schools – and the disproportionate risk that disabled children and young people face to being bullied – are not new to those in the education community.
Nor is the understanding of the long-lasting impact bullying can have on young people’s confidence, achievement and self-image – areas that are particularly sensitive for children and young people with spinal cord injuries.

“I was extremely scared about going back to school, not knowing what people were thinking. ” Danielle, 17

Stopping bullying

Schools are adopting a range of approaches to prevent and tackle bullying, particularly that of disabled children and young people. Some approaches include:

1 General preventative training and awareness raising
2 Monitoring of bullying and SEN/disabilities and tailoring policies accordingly
3 Raising understanding and awareness of disability
4 Development of a whole-school ethos
5 Preventative and reactive small group work with peers to resolve bullying incidents
6 Individualised support and counselling
7 Confidence raising and skills training
8 Improvements to environments and contexts where bullying often occurs

Many strategies are not appropriate or adapted to suit disabled children or young people, so are ineffective at tackling the bullying they face. Research suggests that an integrated system of support is the most effective approach, and requires effective leadership, systems, policies and targeted training and support.

More information can be found on the Anti-Bullying Alliance website.

“My peers could have been more willing to understand; at times it was a bit hostile.” Laura, 18

Resources

Anti -Bullying Alliance

Top Tips for Teachers and staff

Testimonies of parents and carers

Experiences of children and young people:  Top tips for teachers from young people

Training

Free online training for teachers and anyone working with children

Kidscape Bullying Awareness training for staff

Inclusive Solutions

Support for Parents

Information, advice and support

Advice for parents of disabled children

Disabled children and Bullying

Disablism in class – information specifically focusing on bullying of children with a disability

SEN and Disability

For Young People

If you’re being bullied – advice and support for young people

Young Minds support around bullying

Dealing with bullying

Information on bullying and cyber bullying from the NSPCC

ChildLine – Types of bullying and support available 

Free, safe and anonymous online support for young people from Kooth

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