Every school has its share of bullies and every school has policies for dealing with them, but a new report by Ofsted has suggested that teachers need more help if they are to properly deal with the problem.
Following a survey of school bullying to see what could be done to stop the bullies and create an anti-bullying culture, the education watchdog has said that teaching staff would be assisted by specialist training on the issue.
Research shows that young people from certain groups are more likely to be bullied, particularly those with special educational needs and disabilities. Young people who are, or considered to be, homosexual are also more likely to be on the receiving end of bullying.
Inspectors questioned pupils about how they respond to being bullied and looked at the way schools teach their staff to deal with it, concluding that in most cases the training on offer is too general and does not give enough attention to the various forms bullying can take.
Because of the different forms of bullying that take place, some teachers said that they did not feel confident dealing with every kind of incident that may arise.
The 'No Place for Bullying' report notes that the use of discriminatory language by pupils occurs in most schools, but many pupils consider it to be 'just banter' and, because of this, teachers expressed concerns over how to approach the matter.
Commenting on the findings, director of education and care at Ofsted Susan Gregory said it was important for schools to develop a "positive culture" in which students can learn in a safe and happy environment.
"Teachers should receive the right training and support so they have the skills and confidence to teach pupils about diversity and the effects of bullying," she said.
"This report shows many examples where action to tackle bullying has been very effective and I hope this best practice can be emulated by other schools."
Posted by Tim Colman