20 My child is being bullied and I don't feel the school has taken enough action to prevent it. What can I do?
Even if you have already had meetings with your child’s teacher and headteacher about the bullying, it is still worth talking to the school one more time before you formally complain. Bullying is generally solved best when everyone works together to sort it out. It can help to write to the school describing the bullying and asking for a meeting.
Before you fix another meeting make sure you have copies of the school’s policy on behaviour and bullying. If the bullying is linked to your child’s gender, race or disability, ask for the school’s equal opportunities policy. You also have the right to a copy of your child’s school record, which may include details of bullying incidents. The school may make reasonable photocopying charges.
Talk to your child before you speak to the school. Make sure you are as clear as possible about the details of what has happened. Make a note of each bullying incident and the effect on your child.
Before the meeting, note useful points about the school policies. Write down any questions. List everything you want to discuss. At the meeting tick each point as it is dealt with and make notes of what is said. Go back over each point at the end of the meeting so everyone leaves with the same understanding. Fix a date to review how the school’s action is working.
If your meeting with the school does not stop the bullying, you may need to make a formal complaint. You should ask for a copy of the school’s complaints procedure. This will usually involve you making a complaint to the governing body if senior school staff have not sorted out the problem. Your letter could remind the governors of their legal duty of care towards your child as a way of showing how seriously you take the problem. You could also complain to the local authority’s education director, or to your MP.
Successful legal actions against schools about bullying are very rare, although some cases are settled out of court. You will need to consult a solicitor if you feel that your child’s school may have been negligent and you want to take action in the courts. Legal aid is not usually available for these cases. You can speak to one of our education advisers on 0845 345 4 345 for specialist advice, but there may be little direct help we can provide. Telephone specialist advice is only available if you qualify for legal aid.