Sending your child to a school where you know they are unhappy can be a very distressing experience for all concerned.
Bullying can have a devastating effect on a child, their education and their family. It can occur any period during their school life. Occasionally, it is a short lived transient period, but sometimes it can become much more serious.
Often, the best way to address the problem is to try and work with the school initially.
Schools have a statutory obligation to have a properly drawn up anti-bullying policy; this can often be found on their website or within their literature. The school also has an obligation to follow their policy. Government guidance says that state schools anti-bullying policy must include:
- Bullying related to race, religion and culture
- Bullying pupils with disabilities or special educational needs
- Sexist bullying and harassment
- Bullying pupils because of their sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation
- Cyberbullying (the use of mobile phones and the internet to bully pupils).
If there is no policy, you should contact the head teacher.
If you attend a meeting with the school, be clear about the problem. If it relates to specific incidents, ensure that you have recorded as many details as you can – dates and times of incidents, how they relate to the school policy and most importantly, how you feel the issues should be addressed and resolved. The school may not always agree with what you propose, but it will serve as a starting point for further discussion.
As well as an ‘Anti-Bully’ policy, the school also has a common law duty to protect children. In rare cases where it can clearly be shown that they have failed in this regard, it may be possible to bring a claim for damages against the school.
In extreme circumstances, you may not want to send you child to school, but in keeping the child from school, the parent may commit a criminal offence which, at its height, can be punishable with imprisonment. If this happens, it may be prudent to obtain the support of your GP in confirming why your child is unable to attend school.
In certain circumstances, Section 19 Education Act 1996 means that home tuition can be arranged if the child is too ill or has good reason not to be able to attend school regularly.
Another option could be to change school entirely. We can assist you with admission and associated school transport problems.
Our Education Law Department can help you navigate your way through this process, and source the best solution for your child. We understand that this can be a very sensitive and emotional problem for all concerned. We will work hard ensure that you child continues their education in a safe, happy environment.
Take the first step and call us today on 0191 232 3048.