What to do about bullying out of school hours


Bullying frequently happens out of school and is often a source of trouble between neighbours and divides roughly 50:50 into school bullies and serious problems with local children.

If these children are pupils at the same school as your child then it's sensible to warn the school that trouble at home could spill over into school.

Schools can act over bullying on the way to and from school. In 2004 the Department for Education (DfE) issued guidance to schools reminding them they can take action on bullying on the journey to and from school so if bullying is carried out by pupils in school uniform then it's worth a complaint to the head teacher asking for action to be taken in accordance with the guidance. Read the DfE guidance here

Schools won't normally take action over incidents at weekends or during the school holidays.

If your child feels unsafe you could get him/her an attack alarm. These often look like keyrings and cost about £5. The noise they make when activated should scare an attacker off and attract the attention of passers-by.

Involve the police over violence. Making a complaint to the police about intimidation, physical attacks or threats is the best thing to do if the bullies are over the age of criminal responsibility (10) in England and Wales.

The police may be prepared to visit the bullies' homes to warn them off but it's unlikely that further action will follow unless there has been an assault with independent witnesses or a long campaign of harassment. If you do this then you are also likely to have contact from Victim Support offering help. You can try the police for pupils aged under 10 but you may not be successful.

Suggest that your child takes a different route to and from school if possible, and perhaps walks with other pupils, there's safety in numbers. Bullying on the school bus is covered in that section of our advice to parents.

Bullying by neighbours' children

Bullying by neighbours' children is a very tricky problem that can escalate into a long term dispute. Bullying UK gets numerous complaints at the start of every school holiday.

Some parents have said they intend to move home to get away from the problem. Younger children can be desperately upset at being excluded from games and 'the gang' so that they have to spend their free time indoors or even away from their home.

Inviting pupils from school home regularly is a good idea because then if your younger child has problems locally they will still have playmates.

Tactics to try to resolve problems If you've had words with a neighbour over an incident wait until things cool down and say that you are sorry that you've had a difference of opinion.

Donate now

For support call our confidential helpline on 0808 800 2222 or email us at askus@familylives.org.uk. Your opinion matters, please share your views on our website by filling in our survey.