Combating bullying

In recent years there has been an increasing degree of attention given to the issue of bullying in schools. Although there are relatively few instances of bullying in South Ayrshire schools, it is widely recognised that being bullied is a frightening experience and can have a seriously detrimental effect on a child's or young person's educational and personal development.

Children and young people have the right to work and learn in an atmosphere that is free from victimisation, harassment and fear and South Ayrshire Council is committed to working in partnership with schools and parents in ensuring that all of our pupils feel safe and happy within our schools.

Statement of intent

The aims and objectives of South Ayrshire Council in formulating this statement are:

  • To reduce and eradicate wherever possible instances in which pupils are subjected to bullying in any form.
  • To establish appropriate procedures for dealing with incidents of bullying in all our schools.
  • To ensure that all pupils and staff are aware of their school policy and fulfil their obligations to it.


Bullying may be defined as "behaviour by one or more people which produces damaging or hurtful effects, physically or emotionally to any individual".

Setting standards

The values and benefits underlying this policy statement may be considered in the context of the following:

  • All bullying is unacceptable, regardless of how it is delivered or what excuses are given to justify it.
  • South Ayrshire Council through its schools recognises the detrimental effect on pupils who may be subjected to bullying and will work actively to minimise the risks.
  • Victims of bullying will be treated in a supportive manner rather than being regarded as a burden to staff and peer groups.
  • Appropriate action, sanctions and support will be provided for the perpetrators of bullying.
  • The harmful effect on pupil performance which can be occasioned by bullying is recognised and our schools are committed to investigating and combating all bullying behaviour.

Action to combat bullying

Among the procedures which schools will establish and maintain in an effort to combat bullying behaviour are:

  • Allocation of specific roles and responsibilities, both at staff and pupil level, in order that incidents may be detected, behaviour monitored, and appropriate action taken.
  • Support for victims.
  • Sanctions against perpetrators.
  • The establishment of a database or log in which all incidents are recorded and periodically reviewed and reported as appropriate.
  • Communication of the school policy and periodic update in order to ensure that staff, pupils and parents are continuously aware of the policy and also of their individual responsibilities.
  • Examination of preventative measures such as alteration to the school environment, procedures and practices in an effort to reduce the risk of bullying behaviour taking place.
  • Staff training as and when appropriate to ensure that all responsibilities in respect of the school policy can be delivered in a competent, caring and efficient manner.
  • Establishing an appropriate staff-pupil forum in order that current issues with regard to bullying can be discussed on a regular basis.

Pupil responsibilities

It is important that pupils support and co-operate with staff in ensuring that the school anti-bullying policy is implemented. In this regard pupils are expected to:

  • Report all incidents of bullying in line with the school procedures.
  • Act in a respectful and supportive manner to their fellow pupils and report any suspected incidents which the victim may be afraid to report.
  • Adhere to and promote the aims and objectives of the school policy.
  • Refrain at all times from any behaviour which would constitute bullying of fellow pupils.

Parental responsibilities

It is important that parents recognise that they have responsibilities and a vital role to play in combating bullying. In particular they are expected to:

  • Stress to their children the importance of sociable behaviour
  • Report any incidents or concerns relating to either victims or perpetrators of bullying
  • Actively endorse and support the Council policy statement and the school anti-bullying policy.

Evaluation measures

In order for schools to assess the effectiveness of their policy the following measures should be applied:

  • Analysis over a given period of the number of reported incidents.
  • Individual incident returns, including nil returns, within given periods for different age/class/year groups.
  • Analysis of the number of pupil days lost which may have arisen as a consequence of bullying.
  • Any marked improvements in pupil performance and attitude which may be attributed to the eradication of bullying behaviour.

Policy ownership and responsibilities

The school anti-bullying policy should be regarded as a living document and as such should be periodically reviewed and updated.

The ultimate responsibility for the introduction and implementation of the school policy will rest with the Head Teacher and senior management. However it is important to remember that all staff, pupils and parents have an active part to play in the evolution, development and maintenance of the policy.

The aim of South Ayrshire Council is to ensure that all its schools provide a learning environment free from any threat or fear.