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2. Preventing Cyberbullying

2.2 UNDERSTANDING AND TALKING ABOUT CYBERBULLYING

2.2.1Cyberbullying is an issue that is already on your school’s agenda. Cyberbullying prevention is an important way of working towards the Every Child Matters outcomes, and of safeguarding the health and wellbeing of your school community.

2.2.2Developing and agreeing on a shared understanding of what cyberbullying is, and supporting school-wide discussion around the issue of cyberbullying provides a key foundation to all your prevention activities.

2.2.3 How can you make sure that the whole school is confident and clear in its understanding of cyberbullying?

Promote awareness and understanding about cyberbullying

2.2.4It is important that the whole-school community has a shared, agreed definition of cyberbullying. All should be aware of the impact of cyberbullying and the ways in which it differs from other forms of bullying.

2.2.5 We advise that the whole-school community has an opportunity to contribute to and be a part of a policy and practice development and review discussion about cyberbullying.

2.2.6As with other forms of bullying, it is vital to include discussion of prejudice-driven bullying. Sexist, racist and homophobic cyberbullying, as well as cyberbullying related to SEN and disabilities, should be addressed within any discussion and understanding.

Case study: Mossley Hollins school in Manchester recently held a cyberbullying conference for their year 9 pupils – a whole day event including information, activities and workshops which focused on tackling cyberbullying. Following their work with the pupils, they invited parents to attend a one-hour information meeting (see item E in the Resources section for a copy of the letter to parents).

Publicising Sanctions

2.2.7Pupils need to be aware of the importance of a safe environment and how to behave responsibly when using ICT. Pupils, parents, staff and governors should all be aware of the consequences of cyberbullying. Young people and their parents should be made aware of pupils’ rights and responsibilities in their use of ICT, and what the sanctions are for misuse.

Case study: Kesteven and Sleaford High School in Lincolnshire has produced information for learners and parents on sanctions for cyberbullying. You can review these for ideas about communicating your schools sanctions (see item F in ‘Resources’ section).

Provide information about out-of-school bullying

2.2.8Under the Education and Inspections Act 2006, the school has new powers in relation to out-of-school bullying (see information on the law). Staff members and governors will need to understand what these are, so that they can deal with or refer cases appropriately. Students and parents will need to know that the school can provide them with support if cyberbullying takes place out of school.