New guidance issued to tackle bullying

The Welsh Government has issued new guidance to schools, parents, local authorities and teachers to clamp down on bullying (see also: Can we stop bullying becomng the Welsh disease?).

“We want our schools to be inclusive and engaging environments where priority is placed on well-being, so learners feel safe and are ready to learn.

“It is so important that children and young people are taught, both at home and in school, about building and maintaining respectful relationships and this new guidance will help achieve that”
– Education Minister, Kirsty Williams (Lib Dem, Brecon & Radnor)

The new guidance states that schools should:

  • Take note of definitions of types of bullying, including conditional friendship, prejudicial language and behaviour (i.e. homophobic abuse), sexual harassment and also recognises online bullying – but it doesn’t include friends falling out, one-off incidents or not wanting to be friends with someone.
  • Extend the definition of bullying to include incidents outside of school depending on the severity of any incidents and the direct connection to the school (i.e. abusing a member of staff at a weekend or bullying behaviour on a school trip has a stronger case than abusing someone with no connection to a school).
  • Appoint an anti-bullying lead and develop a new anti-bullying strategy with student and parent involvement.
  • Listen to targets of bullying respectfully, believed and, wherever possible, asked to record or note incidents as evidence.
  • Consider several types of intervention including mediation, building a target’s confidence to cope emotionally, peer support and traditional school sanctions.
  • Properly report and monitor bullying incidents and to closely identify trends and persistent perpetrators.