College nips bullying in the bud

GOOD pupil-teacher relations at Sidmouth College ensure bullying is nipped in the bud.

The news comes as the NSPCC calls on schools to undertake regular pupil surveys to help stamp out long term bullying.

Figures from ChildLine, an NSPCC service, reveal that many children suffer continual harassment and attacks, lasting more than five years. In some cases the bullying has been so severe children have turned to harming themselves or even contemplated suicide.

Over the last decade more than 15,000 children have told ChildLine counsellors they were bullied for up to five years and in another 2,190 cases it went on even longer. Another 30,000 said the bullying lasted for between one month and a year.

The NSPCC is now asking all schools to conduct anonymous annual surveys to get a clearer picture of bullying and to establish the extent of cyber-bullying.

Cheryl Marshall, service manager at ChildLine’s Exeter base, said: “Anonymous surveys will give teachers important information like where and when the bullying happens, how frequent it is and the form it takes.

Sidmouth’s acting headteacher Julie Capewell said the school’s behavioural management policy included information on what students should do if they witness bullying, or are victims themselves.

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“We’ve always been keen to establish the college as somewhere pupils can feel safe,” she said. “As a school of 860-870 pupils, things aren’t easily hidden and it’s usually the case that if something has come up, then it’s been witnessed by somebody. Students are quick to tell us what’s happening.”

ChildLine offers confidential support for youngsters on 0800 1111 and