Dealing with bullying on your own can be very isolating, so here are extracts from some emails which you may find help your own situation.
The names and some details have been changed for confidentiality reasons so that neither pupil, school nor family can be identified
The bully keeps hitting my son
My child is aged six and yesterday I picked him up as normal to find a boy hitting him. Apparently this is not the first time this bully has done this and there is no point speaking to his mother as I've heard her arguing with someone else about him.
The headmaster has asked me if I can think of any idea to stop his bad behavior because he's always disrupting the class and being violent. The head led me to believe he may be expelled eventually.
I sympathise with your problem. Let's hope the headmaster can get this bully under control. Have you put your complaint in writing yet. If not I think it would be a good idea, it may even help the head get something done about it if he can show that he has letters of complaint from parents.
It isn't really up to you to come up with ideas to resolve the problem, if the bully is disruptive in class he will be stopping other children taking full advantage of their education. I suspect it will be quite difficult for the school to expel the boy as these days suspensions are only allowed for fixed periods and expulsion is much rarer than it used to be.
Do you think any other parents would join you in a complaint to the head, it may make it easier for him to get this boy help?
My nephew is having trouble on the school bus
My nephew is aged five and has been suffering from verbal abuse and having his belongings damaged on the school bus by another boy aged 11.
My sister complained to the head who wouldn't even hear her out before saying it wasn't the school's problem. My sister is very worried.
In 2004 the DCSF produced guidance for schools explaining that head teachers could take action over problems on the journey to and from school so your sister needs to write to the head teacher asking how he plans to deal with the problem.
Once your sister puts a complaint in writing the head will have to make some sort of response and it will be proof that your sister has tried to do something about it if the problem escalates. It may also make the head think twice before committing himself to an unhelpful reply.
Perhaps your sister could speak to the bus company. If pupils are being unruly they may be pleased to have an opportunity to complain to the school themselves .If there is a regular driver your sister may be able to speak to him or her and get support if they have seen what is going on.
Perhaps your nephew could sit at the front near the driver for protection. These are very young children to be allowed to do as they please. If there are any older pupils on the bus would your sister be able to ask one of them to befriend and keep an eye on your nephew?
If the problem were to spill over into the playground the head would certainly have to be involved so it would be wise to alert him that the problem has not been resolved since your sister tried to raise it with him.
I've written to the school but the bullying hasn't stopped
My daughter is five and is being bullied. Several letters have been sent to the school, meetings held with the class teacher and the head but it still goes on.
Her behaviour used to be really good but she is now aggressive, rude and argumentative. She was never like this before. The bully has been moved to another class but now her friends are ganging up in groups of three or four.
My daughter is psyching herself up to go to school on a daily basis but she loved it at first. We are thinking of changing schools but why should she be the one to go.
I think you've been doing all the right things. The first thing to do is write to the head again, explaining exactly what has been going on and asking for an immediate response to resolve the problem. Ask for a copy of the school bullying policy, schools now need to have them by law.
You should keep a diary of what goes on at school so that if you need to take it further you will have specific events to refer to.
If you are called into school to see the head, make it clear that what is happening is unacceptable and that your daughter now dreads going to school. Follow up the meeting with a letter in which you set out what was said at the meeting and what action the school agreed to take.
My special needs son is called names
My son aged 10 is dyslexic, he has been statemented and has a support assistant and is withdrawn from lessons for extra work.
Unfortunately, the help he is receiving means he is singled out for name calling from various pupils. He got a detention today for hitting another boy who was teasing him about his spelling but we don't think the other boy was punished.
We are very worried about his frustration and that he may turn into a bully himself.
I suspect, as you obviously do, that he is being singled out because of this in-class support he is receiving. Whether or not it is related to his dyslexia, your son has the right not to be bullied.
If this is going on in class I wonder what the class teacher is doing at the time? Would it be possible for you to ask the support teacher to share her help with some of the other children from time to time, maybe some of them are jealous of the attention your son is getting.
It may be helpful for you to tell your son that he should tell you when there is name calling so that you can sort it out. Point out that if he does retaliate it will make things worse. The bullies are looking for a reaction from him.
I think it unlikely that he will become a bully himself if he is only reacting to the distress he is being caused but his classmates' behaviour needs to be nipped in the bud before it escalates.
I've been told to move my son to another school
My seven-year-old son is experiencing problems with another boy who regularly hits and kicks him. We have approached the school on numerous occasions.
The last meeting with the head resulted in me being told that if I didn't like her discipline procedures I should move my son. This other boy has behavioural problems which the school refuses to discuss with us.
Schools have a duty of care and the head should not ignore your complaints. I suggest that you write to her outlining all the problems and also what her response was to date.
Ask her what strategy she intends to introduce to deal with the attacks on your son. I doubt very much whether she would be prepared to reiterate her remark that you can find another school if she has to put it in writing.
The school isn't allowed to discuss other pupils with you except in general terms. It might be appropriate to ask for a copy of your son's school record.
In it you should find copies of letters you have sent and incident report forms together with notes of any action taken. Asking for this file will show the school that you are determined to get the problem sorted out.
Is this horseplay or is it bullying?
I've been told that I'm over-reacting and that my son aged 13 isn't being bullied, it's mostly horseplay and he's too sensitive and needs to recognise the difference. I'm quite fed up and thinking about moving him to another school.
I regard horseplay as fun between children which gets out of hand and someone gets hurt. I don't think it should be one sided where one child is having fun at the expense of another and the victim is upset. I'm not sure that your son being sensitive should be a negative issue for the school. They should realise this may make him more upset.
Transferring to another school is always a very difficult issue and one which needs very careful thought because the best schools are always full and you may not get a place, even on appeal.Does your son still have friends he would miss at school?
It certainly can give a child a fresh start but I would say that it is better to try to work the problem out with the school for the time being, unless he is suffering such distress that his health is suffering and he no longer wants to return to school.
Girl bullies are making my daughter's life a misery
My daughter is 11 and has been bullied mentally by the same girl for three years. I have mentioned it to the school many times, it stops for a while then starts again.
The teacher asked my daughter this morning if she was sure this was happening or if she was imagining it. I was very upset. The bullying is very subtle and her confidence is being chipped away. She has this girl shouting in her face and not letting her join in games as well and pinching her books.
She doesn't eat, sleep or smile anymore and wants to leave school and never go back. We have a doctor's visit soon as I am so worried about her. I'm afraid of making things worse by complaining again.
This seems to be a classic case of bullying and the school not doing enough to effectively sort it out. I'm astonished that the teacher didn't believe your daughter after so many complaints.
Take your daughter to the doctor so that her distress can be recorded and so that she can have counselling if the doctor thinks it necessary.
You don't need to go into school again and get upset. It's time to deal with this in writing so that there is a record of what has been going on.
Here is what I suggest you say:
My daughter (name) has been bullied for three years by (name). These incidents have involved (explain) and my daughter has been so upset that we have had to take her to the doctor. On (dates) I have complained to (names) and the response has been (explain). This is no longer acceptable to me and I would like you to tell me what you have done to ensure my daughter's safety and well-being in the past and what you intend to do about it in the future.
If the head invites you to a meeting, you could ask for it to be dealt with in writing but if you go to see him, write to him immediately afterwards, outlining what you told him and what you understand the school is going to do about it.
It should work, if it doesn't let me know and I can help you take it further.
Can I still take action although I left school some time ago?
I'm 18. I had to leave my school after bullying. I was not physically hurt but it was so bad I had to go to another school further away which costs a lot of money in bus fares. My parents and I wondered if I could take legal action and how we do it?
The thing about legal action (and I speak from experience) is that it takes years and is very stressful. To be able to take it, you need to show that you have suffered physical or mental harm because if you haven't you have no case.
If you are at school you wouldn't have any income but the rules for getting legal aid are now much stricter and so it may be harder to get the case funded. Whether or not you would be successful depends on what your parents did about the problem.
If they have plenty of written evidence, and complained to the head, governors and LEA that would be very helpful because it would show they had taken a complaint through the system. If not I think it would be very doubtful that the Legal Aid Board would fund it.
There would also need to be medical evidence, from your doctor's notes at the time and from a psychiatrist and psychologist once the legal case was under way.
Unfortunately, very few solicitors in the UK deal with education matters and those who do generally act on matters of contract for schools and colleges rather than individuals.
If you and your parents decide to go down this route, I'll help you as much as I can, and share my experience of the process with you and your solicitor.
My son has been told it's his fault he's bullied
My son who is nine has been bullied for a nearly a year and we don't know what to do next. We keep being told that he brings it on himself. I'm fed up with writing to the head.
Even if your son were a so-called 'provocative victim' that doesn't mean bullies have a free hand. I think the first thing you need to do is write to the chairman of governors, explaining the background and enclosing copies of letters between you and the school.
Ask for a copy of his school record, you are entitled to this within 15 school days (excluding holidays and weekends) and will have to pay for photocopying. You do not have to go into school to see the file, it is illegal for the school to put conditions on you seeing it.
In it, you should find evidence of all your letters and visits to the school, and a note made of any action taken. If the school is alleging that your son is a provocative victim, you should also find evidence of that in the file. If you don't, you need to question what you have been told.
The chairman of governors may try to refer you back to the head, saying that he is responsible for the day-to-day running of the school. I think this would be very unreasonable as you have already given the head the opportunity to sort it out.
If the governors are unhelpful, or the problem continues, write to the Local Education Authority. The address will be in the phone book under county council or metropolitan council.
Ask for an investigation to be carried out. The LEA will then issue a report (which may take months). If you are not satisfied, you can write to the Secretary of State and ask for an investigation. He will only be able to look into it if your child is still a pupil at the school.
The bullies have been made playground monitors!
My daughter aged 10 is being bullied by a number of girls in her class. We have spoken to the head and staff many times. They say they cannot discipline the girls unless they have proof.
They have picked several girls from the class, including some of the bullies to monitor the playground. This is so upsetting that my daughter has insomnia and is afraid to go to school, she has become sullen and frustrated which is not like her.
We have found that other girls are suffering bullying as well and we are being forced to take our daughter out of school. As this is a private school which needs a term's notice, how would we stand if we withheld the fees?
If the school wants proof the your daughter is being bullied, where are the staff while this is going on? All schools have a duty of care towards their pupils and you could start by suggesting that supervision is inadequate if the head does not know what her pupils are up to.
Making other ten year old pupils playground supervisiors is surprising. What would happen if a child was hurt? If the bullies blame your daughter for something in the playground does that mean the school will say they have proof?
My advice is to take her to the doctor immediately so that her distress can be recorded. I think a sharp note to the governors outlining exactly what you've done, who you've spoken to and what has been said will be a good idea, as will keeping a diary of day to day problems
Unfortunately, as this is a private school you cannot complain to the local education authority, they have no jurisdiction. So when you write to the chairman of governors you should ask for firm proposals to resolve the matter to be put forward urgently.
I doubt the school would think you had any legal reason to withhold the fees, you will have signed a contract agreeing to this arrangement. See a solicitor before you decide to do that.