Bullying can happen anywhere and this section offers advice to parents who are concerned their child is being affected by bullying at school.
There are different types of bullying: physical, such as hitting, kicking or theft; verbal, such as name calling or racist remarks and indirect, which can include spreading rumours or excluding someone from a social group.
Signs to watch out for
Common symptoms of bullying include headaches, stomach aches, anxiety and irritability.
You should trust your instincts if your child is acting out of character at home and contact the school immediately.
What you should do if your child is being bullied
The law requires your child's school to have an anti-bullying policy which sets out how it deals with bullying incidents. You have a right to know about this policy which is as much for parents as for staff and pupils. If your child tells you they are experiencing bullying at school, there are certain people you can speak with to resolve the problem.
Initially, you should write to the head teacher and express your concerns. Try to work with them to resolve the issue. If that does not help, you could then write to the Chair of Governors and then to the local authority.
If the problem still remains unresolved, the Department for Children, Schools and Families can investigate the allegations with the school.
You could also ring the helpline at Parentline Plus on 0808 800 2222 for general information.
Children who are being bullied can get free advice and support by calling ChildLine on 0800 1111, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
If you suspect your child is bullying someone
Often parents are not aware that their child is involved in bullying. This can be embarrassing, but it is important to remember not to become angry with your child. You should:
• Talk to your child and let them know what they are doing is unacceptable.
• Discourage other family members from bullying behaviour or using aggression or force to get what they want.
• Make an appointment to see your child's teacher or form tutor to discuss the problem.
• Give your child lots of praise and encouragement when they are cooperative or kind to other people.