Anti-bullying week…an assembly and a poster, or can we do more?

Ahead of anti-bullying week 2016 Jane Henry, Proof Matters Ltd. and KiVa Trainer for Staffordshire & Stoke-on-Trent, looks at school bullying in England and across Europe. In England we have one of the highest rates of school bullying in Europe.

It is estimated that, at any given point in time, approximately 15% of school age children are victimised by bullies.

How many children does that equate to in your school?

Research on bullying

Research into the long term impact of bullying highlights the link between drug misuse, anti-social behaviour, school disengagement, poorer academic and economic outcomes and significantly worse mental health. Worryingly, recent studies have shown the psychosomatic impact of bullying on a child is similar to that of a child abused by an adult. Maybe it’s time society stopped viewing bullying as a ‘rite of passage’ and instead recognised the significant harm that this type of peer abuse can cause.

In 2011 I was fortunate enough to be invited to attend a lecture by an internationally renowned expert in bullying and victimisation, Christina Salmivalli, from the University of Turku, Finland. I was blown away by her research into good prevention work in this field: significantly reduced levels of school bullying (including verbal, physical, and cyberbullying); positive effects on school liking, improved academic motivation and achievement; and reductions in anxiety and depression.

The results that Christina shared were from a bullying prevention programme she had developed in Finland, ‘KiVa’. Unlike many traditional approaches to dealing with bullying, which involve intervention with just the bully and victim, KiVa focuses on changing the attitude and behaviours of bystanders, an approach which is now considered to be highly effective.

A background of KiVa

KiVa comprises of a taught curriculum spread over Key Stage 2 and the intervention of a trained KiVa Team in each school, who deal with confirmed cases of bullying. There are online games for children to access both at school and at home, which helps to consolidate their learning. There is access to a parents interactive booklet which helps parents support their child if they are experiencing bullying, but also helps parents to understand what bullying is and what it isn’t. The programme involves all Key Stage 2 students completing an online survey which gives the school an accurate picture of bullying and victimisation, by year group, and provides a way of monitoring progress.

In my view, KiVa offers something unique to this agenda in school, an evidenced approach. It takes away the guess work…………’do what is says on the tin’ and we stand a good chance of making a really positive difference to children’s life outcomes.

To learn more about the KiVa programme, visit the website here.

Practical strategies to tackle bullying in schools

BTSA are delighted to be working with Proof Matters Ltd. and Jane Henry to provide this high quality anti-bullying training workshop for school staff.

The session will cover the following topics:

  • The difference between bullying and fallouts
  • Legal requirements on schools to tackle bullying
  • Myth busting – messages from the research
  • Links between bullying and mental health
  • First principles in dealing with a bullying incident
  • Practical strategies that work when tackling bullying in school

The session is on Tue 17 January 2017 and costs just £25 to attend.

See further details and booking information here.

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