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Bullying Help for Parents in London
Bullying can have a very serious long term effect on those on the receiving end, often extending on into adult years and affecting self-esteem and confidence. It is crucial that parents exercise vigilance so that any tell-tale signs of bullying are picked up early on. These signs could include sleeping problems; irritability; anxiety; a lack of desire to go to school and damage to or theft of possessions.
Children don’t tend to share what is happening to them and will rarely ask for help because they are scared of exacerbating the situation. Parents should therefore be on their guard and exercise sensitivity at all times.
What can London Schools do to Prevent Bullying?
All state schools are required to have anti-bullying procedures and policies in operation. Parents are within their rights to be able to access the details of these policies. Schools also owe a duty of care to all the children who attend.
Schools are encouraged to instil a positive culture of respect, and to remove the stigma of bullying by discussing it in an open arena during assemblies, at parent evenings and in staff meetings. Training should be provided for staff so that they are ready to deal with any problems that arise.
Anti-discrimination law must also be adhered to which means steps must be taken by the school’s staff to prevent victimisation, discrimination and harassment.
What Should I do if I Suspect my Child is Being Bullied at School in London?
You should report any suspicion of bullying to the school immediately, whether it is happening inside or outside the establishment. Early intervention is vital and schools will need to be proactive in their approach. Usually they will keep a detailed record and hold discussions with everyone involved and of course they should take the relevant disciplinary steps.
What can I do to Prevent my Child From Being Bullied at School in London?
Parents in the Capital are often tempted to keep their children back from school so as to protect them from bullying. However, unless this is done by way of an official agreement with the school, then it could lead to prosecution by the London Local Authority because all parents have a legal duty to ensure their children are receiving an appropriate full time education.
Any parent is within their rights to request their child be educated at home, although evidence will need to be presented that the child is receiving a full time education appropriate to their age and ability. Any special educational needs required will also need to be met. Local Authorities in London will generally request details of the home learning plan so they can satisfy themselves that the child is receiving a suitable education.
What Constitutes Bullying?
There are various types of bullying. The overall definition is any repeated action that is intended to hurt someone physically or emotionally. Such action could be, for example, name calling; physical assault; theft of property; damage to possessions; teasing; cyberbullying or any other behaviour deemed threatening.
What if the School Doesn’t do Anything About the Bullying?
In London, education lawyers regularly come across situations where parents are putting themselves at risk by intervening in bullying matters themselves because they feel that the school is ignoring the issue.
It is important to be clear and specific in the way you communicate the problems you believe are apparent so that there are no misunderstandings. Read the anti-bullying policy and ask for a written plan of action so that you have clarity on the school’s intentions.
You can escalate matters if you are not satisfied as to how they are being dealt with, either to the Head Teacher, the Board of Governors or the Local Authority.
Bullying in London schools has been known to become so severe that it constitutes a criminal offence. If violence has been threatened or there has been an assault, criminal damage or theft then reports should be submitted not only to the school, but to the Metropolitan Police. The same goes for instances of cyberbullying, abusive calls or texts and hate crimes.
Is it Possible to Take Action Against a London School if it Refuses to do Something About the Bullying?
Schools are legally required to do everything possible to protect children from all types of bullying and can be judged legally responsible if a child in their care suffers serious harm as a result of bullying when it was apparent that it could happen.
Theoretically there is a possibility that a school could be sued in these cases. However, any London education law solicitor will generally advise parents to make this a last resort. The reason for this is that cases like these are never straightforward and can prove traumatic for both parent and child. Proving that the school failed in its obligation to follow its anti-bullying policy can be a challenge, so be sure to fully discuss the individual circumstances of your situation with a specialist education law solicitor in London who has long term experience in bullying cases before you make any decisions.
Is a London Education Law Solicitor able to Prevent my Child From Being Bullied?
Sometimes London based parents are in a strong position and able to prove that their child’s school has acted negligently. If you feel this is the case in your situation and you would like to take action against the school or the Local Authority then you should engage the assistance of a specialist education law solicitor in London. They will examine the merits of the case in detail and advise you as to the best course of action, taking into consideration the desired outcome and working towards a goal that can be realistically achieved with the least possible stress.
HCB Solicitors has a dedicated team of London based education solicitors with extensive experience in school bullying issues across the Capital. Our expertise is nationally recognised and we regularly deal with all of the London Local Authorities including the likes of Westminster, Southwark, Lambeth, Lewisham, Tower Hamlets and City of London. You will find our specialists easy to talk to and highly sensitive to the issues you and your child are facing. Our aim is to extinguish the anxieties we know you are experiencing by applying practical solutions via a sympathetic approach.
To talk in confidence to one of our experts, please get in touch today.
Bullying in London Schools: Useful Resources
The following links should prove useful if you are seeking information to assist with a bullying issue at your child’s school and you can also explore the pages of your local council’s website to see whether they have any local resources to assist you.
London Anti-Bullying Coalition
Lewisham Council – Keeping Children Safe
London Borough of Barnet – Bullying Resources
Tower Hamlets – Anti-Bullying Resource Pack