Bullying at School – UK Government Advice

Guidelines on dealing with bulling from the UK Government

These are the guidelines on dealing with bullying at school from gov.uk

1. The law

Some forms of bullying are illegal and should be reported to the police. These include:

  • violence or assault
  • theft
  • repeated harassment or intimidation, eg name calling, threats and abusive phone calls, emails or text messages
  • hate crimes

Call 999 if you or someone else is in immediate danger.

Schools and the law

By law, all state (not private) schools must have a behaviour policy in place that includes measures to prevent all forms of bullying among pupils.

This policy is decided by the school. All teachers, pupils and parents must be told what it is.

Anti-discrimination law

Schools must also follow anti-discrimination law. This means staff must act to prevent discrimination, harassment and victimisation within the school. This applies to all schools in England and Wales, and most schools in Scotland.

Northern Ireland has different anti-discrimination law.

2. Reporting bullying

You should report bullying to your school in the first place – or someone you trust if it happens outside school, eg in a club or online.

Tell the police if the bullying involves a crime.

Schools – reporting bullying

School staff will deal with bullying in different ways, depending on how serious the bullying is.

They might deal with it in school, eg by disciplining bullies, or they might report it to the police or social services.

Any discipline must take account of special educational needs or disabilities that the pupils involved may have.

Police – reporting bullying

Anyone can make a complaint to the police about bullying but it’s usually a good idea to speak to your school first.

If you’re reporting cyberbullying, keep a record of the date and time of the calls, emails or texts – don’t delete any messages you receive.

Call 999 if you or someone else is in immediate danger.

Where to get help and advice

There are lots of organisations that provide support and advice if you’re worried about bullying:

  • Anti-Bullying Alliance
  • Bullying UK
  • Childline
  • The Diana Award
  • Kidscape

3. Bullying outside school

Head teachers have the legal power to make sure pupils behave outside of school premises (state schools only).

This includes bullying that happens anywhere off the school premises, eg on public transport or in a town centre.

School staff can also choose to report bullying to the police or local council.

4. Bullying – a definition

There is no legal definition of bullying.

However, it’s usually defined as behaviour that is:

  • repeated
  • intended to hurt someone either physically or emotionally
  • often aimed at certain groups, eg because of race, religion, gender or sexual orientation

It takes many forms and can include:

  • physical assault
  • teasing
  • making threats
  • name calling
  • cyberbullying – bullying via mobile phone or online (eg email, social networks and instant messenger)

Your school should have its own definition of bullying.

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