Children’s commissioner for England Al Aynsley-Green has criticised school bullying complaints procedures as unfair and ineffective.
He made the comments following the launch of a review of bullying complaints procedures in schools by his organisation, 11 Million. The publication coincides with Anti-Bullying Week, which starts today.
Shortcomings were uncovered in the process used by many schools to hear complaints about bullying, with some families saying that the system lacked transparency. Aynsley-Green said: “Many children and their parents have told us that the current complaints system in schools does not always address bullying incidents in a fair or effective way.
“Bullying impacts on a child’s emotional well-being and the process of resolving incidents can disrupt their school and home lives.”
Based on the report Al Aynsley-Green made a series of recommendations to improve complaints procedures. He called for families to be given the right to a hearing before a governors’ committee as currently not all school governors hear complaints as a matter of course.
Also as part of Anti-Bullying Week, the Anti-Bullying Alliance released the results of its annual poll of children and young people. It was found that 35% of seven- to 18-year-olds reported having been bullied outside of school. Over half also said that most bullying started outside school.
Meanwhile, children’s secretary Ed Balls has announced a £3m fund to test the idea of “peer mentoring” to help prevent young people being bullied. Pilot projects will be set up to train pupils to help each other, resolve conflict and liaise with teachers. The Department for Children, Schools and Families said that this would be one of the biggest anti-bullying programmes seen in schools.
Balls said: “Peer mentoring is an exciting scheme that is already having great success in many schools. I want more schools to benefit by testing different forms of peer mentoring at different age groups.”