Agenda item

Presentation on our approach to anti-bullying and our work with schools


Malcolm Taylor presented to Members an overview of Thurrock’s approach to Anti-Bullying at Schools in Thurrock.


The Anti-Bullying Alliance was a coalition of organisations and individuals that defined bullying as “the repetitive, intentional hurting of one person or group by another person or group, where the relationship involved an imbalance of power”.


The presentation included information on the national guidance used:


           Preventing and Tackling Bullying Advice for head teachers, staff and governing bodies – October 2014

           School Support for Children and Young People who are bullied – factsheet Crown 2014

           Keeping Children Safe in Education Statutory Guidance for Schools and Colleges Department for Education - September 2016


There were two goals - Give the Opportunity to All and Better Emotional Health and Wellbeing. The two objectives were that all Children in Thurrock made good education progress and improved the emotional health and wellbeing of children and young people.


The duties of schools and the local authorities sat with:


           The Education Act 2002 – Legal duty on maintained schools and local authorities to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.

           The Education and Inspections Act 2006 – Measures to encourage good behaviour and prevent all forms of bullying amongst pupils.

           Common Inspection Framework – Education Skills and Early Years – Key Judgements – the quality of teaching, learning and assessment.

           The Equality Act 2010 – Race, disability and gender.

           Criminal Law – a key offence of this was when a person sent an electronic communication to another person with the intent to cause distress or anxiety.


Work on anti-bullying activity with the Local Safeguarding Children Board included:


           Cyber Bullying

           157/175 Audit

           Link to the NSPCC website

           LSCB 2017 Conference with Community Safety

           Thurrock Emotional Health Survey

           Incident Monitoring in Schools

           Safeguarding Forum

           Information Advice and Guidance


The Emotional Wellbeing Mental Health Services included “Open Up, Reach Out” and “Risk Avert”.


The “All Together” Alliance formed part of a programme that focussed on tackling bullying in relation to Special Educational Needs and Disabilities.


Councillor Redsell thanked Malcolm Taylor for the brilliant report but asked what happened to those bullied children that did not want to engage with their school or parents. Malcolm Taylor stated that schools were very aware of cyber bullying and that they have a duty and the right to intervene. Work would continue with schools and that pupil safety would be paramount.


Councillor Watkins asked Officers if there were any statistics on the Cyber Walk In roadshows and what pressures were being put on schools to undertake this. Malcolm Taylor stated these were two critical areas and that good attendance had been recorded but was too early to see any evidence in the behaviour of children. Promoting the web sites, continuing to look at the feedback received from roadshows and the training for parents will be provided.


Malcolm Taylor stated working with schools on the approach of safeguarding, there had been good attendance at forums and that data would be available so that certain areas could be targeted and sign posts would be available for schools displaying the resources available.


Councillor Allen stated that there should be intervention between the council, head teachers, teachers and children in schools. Malcolm Taylor stated this was being endorsed and would support appropriately. The Council would act on any incidents reported to them on any maintained schools. For Academy schools the Council would not be duty bound and these would need to go through the appropriate academy complaints process.


Councillor Sheridan asked Officers if bullying data could be used amongst schools for competitiveness. Malcolm Taylor stated that statistics were compared and shared but consideration would have to be given to ensure that incidents were not misleading and were recorded in the same way.


Councillor Redsell stated that it was an offence to send cyber mail and how much were parents being involved. Malcolm Taylor stated that it was important to include parents on any incident but consideration should be given to the impact on a child as they may feel more isolated if their devices were taken away from them. The Council would expect schools to get parents involved in any significant issue.


Councillor Allen asked Officers what happened when bullying occurred outside school premises. Malcolm Taylor stated that head teachers had a right to intervene outside school premises at the appropriate times. The community police officers would also be involved with schools.


Councillor Watkins asked whether the data to hand pointed at more bullying taking place at primary or secondary schools and why the Thurrock Emotional Health Survey had been directed to ages of 6-10 year olds.


Malcolm Taylor stated that limited data was available at this time and based mainly on issues that had been reported to the local authority. The data recording that schools were being asked to complete would give a good indication of the levels of bullying in primary and secondary schools. The Thurrock Emotional Health Survey was newly commissioned by Public Health and focused on 6-10 year olds but age groups would change on any new survey to get a good range of responses.


The Chair thanked Malcolm Taylor for the report and stated that this was an area to be dealt with effectively. The Chair asked what number of incidents had been referred from schools concerning bullying and how was this information used. Malcolm Taylor stated that the school monitoring and surveys would provide the hard data required and the level of bullying was difficult to monitor at present due to how incidents were reported.


Sonny Tipping stated that he was anti-bullying trained and knew what measures were in place and how to advise others and would continue to promote further training.


Malcolm Taylor stated that peer support had the greatest impact and how the cultures in schools could be there to help support and deal with some local issues.


Councillor Allen stated that all primary and secondary schools should maintain data statistics and have robust policies in place.