Heads Up

This anti-bullying week, so do take time to think about your staff team because many school leaders don’t recognise bullying when it’s right in front of them.

Sadly I’ve come across more examples of bullying in schools than I would hope to and I’m not talking about the children but the adults.  However the biggest problem I see is not in dealing with it (that’s the second biggest), surprisingly it’s that people don’t see the behaviour for what it is:  bullying.

The impact of this is huge, staff morale can dip, bad decision are made to placate the bully and people leave because of them – in fact for 50% of people who leave for reasons other than promotion, moving location and the like, conflict is cited as a main reason (**source). 50%.

I was supporting a school with some difficult staff issues the head wanted to resolve.  She told me about a member of the team who several times, over a number of years, to different people had sent another member of staff to Coventry.  Not only had she administered the silent treatment but she had been able to influence other members of staff to do the same.

When I said to the head that this was bullying she was shocked.  Now this was not a naïve head, in fact two heads had gone before who hadn’t dealt with this issue even though they were aware of it.  I often see school leaders looked surprise when I point out that an adult is showing bullying behaviour.

Are you sure bullying isn’t happening in your school?  Until we start to recognise it for what it is we won’t be able to tackle it.  If you don’t tackle it your school simply won’t be able to reach its potential but bullying undermines high performance.

Top Tip:  To sense check if an adult’s behaviour is bullying or not think about what you do if it was a child demonstrating this behaviour.  For me this is the acid test to determine what to do next.

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