The UK Rules
'Follow the Regulations'

Bullying at School - What to Do?

UK law deals with the worst of school bullies. Find out what parents can do about a bully and how to report illegal bullying.

How to Stop Bullying at School: Bullying at school is illegal if the aggressor is violent or causes assault.

These cases should be reported to the police as well as any time it involves theft, repeated harassment, or a hate crime.

As a rule, schools have their own specific definition of bullying.

State School Behaviour Policy - The Law

Note: Call 999 if you or someone else is in immediate danger!

In the United Kingdom, The Annual Bullying Survey 2015 (an anti-bullying charity) involved more than 70 schools and colleges and showed that 50% of young people (13 - 20 year olds) have in fact bullied another person and one third of the bullies admitted doing it regularly - at least once a week.

As a rule, a child's appearance is the main subject of bullying at school. More than half of all bullied pupils in the 2015 survey stated it was the way they looked which received most intimidation from bullies - as well as name calling, personal threats, abusive phone calls (or text messages) and emails.

According to school law in the United Kingdom, all state schools (excluding private schools) are required to have a behaviour policy in place and it must include satisfactory measures to prevent and deal with all forms of bullying among pupils. Even though the actual policy is determined by individual schools, all teachers, parents, and pupils must be informed what the school policy is and what parents can do about bullying.

School Anti-discrimination Laws

Besides having an adequate behaviour policy, schools and the staff are also required to follow anti-discrimination law. The law applies to all schools in England and Wales (and most in Scotland) and aims to prevent harassment, victimisation, and discrimination within the school. A different anti-discrimination law exists in Northern Ireland.

How to Report Bullying

As a rule it is appropriate to report bullying to your school in the first instance. You could discuss the matter with someone you trust if it bullying takes place outside the school, such as online or at a club.

Note: Inform the police if bullying involves violence or crime.

Reporting Bullying in School

Reporting Bullying to the Police

Help and Advice about Bullying

Contact the organisations Anti-Bullying Alliance or for further support and advice if you have concerns about bullying.

Bullying outside school

There are some cases where you need to deal with your child's school problems and issues outside of schooling hours. Head teachers at all state schools have legal powers to ensure pupils behave themselves and do not bully outside the school premises - for example in a town center or on public transport.

Definition of Bullying

Perhaps somewhat curiously there is no legal definition of bullying. Bullying means to use superior strength or influence in order to intimidate someone, often forcing them to do something. Bullying behaviour is defined as repeated, usually intending to hurt someone either physically or emotionally, and often aimed at certain groups of people because of their gender, sexual orientation, religion, or race.

Bullies use physical assault, they tease, make verbal threats with name calling. Cyberbullying is recognised as one of the newest forms of bullying. It is conducted online through the internet or via mobile phone or using social networks, instant messenger, and emails.

How to Deal with Bullying at School; UK Rules Updated 2017