Over the years Kidscape have urged schools to record incidents of bullying and have advised children and parents to ‘log’ incidents - the what, when and where. We’re starting to rethink this approach, concerned that this has led to a culture where children and parents may feel they need to ‘prove’ that bullying has taken place, with schools recording the incident as if they are investigating a crime.
We’ve spoken to many parents who are locked in battles with schools over the proof of evidence. We have also had calls from parents, so desperate to prove ‘the evidence’ that they have considered covert recording. Alongside this we’ve seen an increase in the school use of CCTV - again, used at times not only as a deterrent, but to ‘examine the evidence’.
There is a place for evidence, it is helpful for children to keep a diary of events, and for schools to log reported incidents - particularly to spot repetitive behaviour. However, this should never be at the detriment of the immediate needs of a child - namely, to feel safe, secure and happy.
This is not an employment tribunal or a court of law. Yes - if you suspect a crime or safeguarding incident has occurred you need to carefully follow procedure, but on a day to day basis, what matters most is the impact the situation is having on a child and what you can do to help.
We all know that childhood and adolescence is a volatile time when emotions run high. Behaviour can be unpredictable, relationships can be complex and you will not always be able to navigate the subtleties of the conflict they are experiencing. If you’re faced with a child who is emotional and teary, or scared and withdrawn, that’s what needs to be resolved. Do ask what has happened, but most importantly talk through how they are feeling and what you can do to help put it right.
Always think - how can I help get this child back on track feeling happy, safe and secure regardless of whether I agree with their interpretation of events.
The Kidscape log
We’ve revised our ‘bullying log’ to reflect this. The Kidscape log is still available to help children and families share their concerns with schools - but we’ve increased the emphasis on the impact of incidents, and what would help make things better. We would encourage all schools to include the log as part of their anti-bullying and behaviour policy.
If you are a parent or carer and you need advice on a bullying situation then contact our Parent Advice Line (Mon-Thurs, 9am-1pm) on 020 7823 5430.
Kidscape log and school contact record
The Kidscape log and school contact record is a simple way to promote open communication with the school and ensure that each bullying incident is recorded.