‘It’s like fighting a losing battle’ – teachers on how bullying affects pupils’ lives

The Tes reports that the majority of state secondary teachers say bullying is a problem in their school, according to shocking findings of a Tes/This Morning survey. And more than half (53 per cent) of secondary teachers and 25 per cent of primary teachers said they know of children who had been too scared to attend school due to bullying.

Martin Davis, deputy head of Islwyn High School, near Blackwood, South Wales said: “Media attitudes to humour in most genres normalise banter, slapstick and mockery. Inevitably parents and children are influenced by this bombardment and many can no longer distinguish the media world from the real world.”

And another secondary teacher who preferred not to be named said: “It’s become so ‘normal’ for children to insult each other, post indecent photos of themselves and threaten violence because it’s all entered mainstream media. It is like fighting a losing battle.”

Teachers spoke about how tackling bullying required efforts on many fronts: empowering all children to feel able to report bullying whether it is happening to them or to others, encouraging parents to keep an eye on what their children are doing and demanding social media companies do more to protect young users.

The latest official statistics show that in 2015-16 there were 3,750 temporary and 40 permanent exclusions recorded as due to bullying. But there was also 59,880 temporary exclusions and 825 permanent exclusions which were due to a pupil physically assaulting another pupil.

One of the factors that needs to be tackled, according to those responding to the Tes/This Morningsurvey of more than a thousand teachers, is that only “extreme” acts are seen as bullying.

“The main problems are the subtle bullies who constantly chip away undetected at children causing long-term self-esteem issues to the children being bullied,” said one primary school teacher. “It seems like nothing but the build-up over a long period has a huge effect. It then becomes how the child is treated by the whole class.”

An NSPCC spokesperson said: “At its worst, bullying has driven young people to self-harm and even suicide so it’s vital that parents and teachers know how to spot the signs of bullying and support those affected.”

Read the full article ‘It’s like fighting a losing battle’ – teachers on how bullying affects pupils’ lives

Is bullying a reoccurring problem in your school? How is it dealt with? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

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