Last reviewed September 2023

One Minute Guide to Bullying

What is Bullying?

Bullying is defined as the ‘repetitive, intentional hurting of a person or group by another person or group, where the relationship involves an imbalance of power.’


Some schools use the useful mnemonic of ‘STOP’ to distinguish bullying from the one-off or accidental hurting of a child or children.

Bullying can take several forms. Some are obvious e.g. physical assault, intimidation, teasing, threats and name-calling whereas others are more subtle and harder to identify immediately e.g. exclusion or non verbal communication to exclude and ignore.

The focus of some bullying can be specific e.g. racist, homophobic, sexual or based around discernible differences in body shape or ability / disability.

Supporting image
What is Cyber Bullying?
  • Text link image Also known as online bullying or sexual bullying
    Show details
    This describes a situation where a person or a group of people use internet, email, online games or any other social media or digital technology to threaten, tease, upset or humiliate someone else.

    Bullying makes victims’ lives miserable, frightening and even unbearable – affecting their happiness, fulfilment, learning, wider success and safety. Although bullying tends to be more common in schools in Key Stage 2 (7-11) and Key Stage 3 (11- 14) it can still occur at any age.

Remember, if a child is being bullied online this probably means they are being bullied offline too!

  • Text link image What does the law say on Bullying?
    Show details
    Some forms of bullying are illegal and should be reported to the police. These include:
    · violence or assault
    · theft
    · repeated harassment, stalking or intimidation, e.g. abusive name calling, threatening phone calls, emails or text messages
    · hate crimes (against specific groups such as ethnic groups or LGBTQIA+ community)

    By law, Section 89 of the Education and Inspections Act 2006, state all schools must have a behaviour policy in place that includes measures to prevent all forms of bullying amongst pupils. This policy is decided by the school and should be communicated to all teachers, pupils and parents. Schools must also follow anti-discrimination law as set out in the guidance Equality Act 2010 and Schools. This means all staff and governors must act to prevent discrimination, harassment and victimisation within schools.

The Impact of Bullying

Bullying can be devastating and  a child can develop low self esteem which worsens over time.  A child can therefore, become more vulnerable to exploitation, behavioural and relationship problems, low educational attainment, self harm and can be linked to suicidal ideation.

If you think a child is in immediate danger you must call 999.

Supporting image
  • Text link image What should practitioners do if they  suspect bullying?
    Show details
    Discuss the issue with a colleague your line manager, the parents of the children involved and the children referring to your anti-bullying policy for guidance. 

    Meticulously record incidents and ensure the child is happy with how you propose to tackle the situation.

    Reassess regularly and try to focus on demonstrating positive relationships.

    Make support highly visible within the school.
  • Text link image What support is available to a child?
    Show details
    There are several options for children to seek help including:

    A teacher or other member of staff such as a learning mentor or teaching assistant. It can be very hard for a young person to tell an adult, because they fear it might make the bullying worse and because it is often difficult to find an adult in private

    Their parent / carer who are usually able to understand them and able to articulate their concerns more clearly to those in authority and to oversee and monitor action

    Their class or school council which may have a role in upholding school rules and codes of behaviour

    Their friends who may often be able to give advice and offer protection

Most schools in Wakefield have staff who have been trained to both assess a child’s emotional literacy and also to organise small group interventions to help enhance the skills of emotional literacy and resilience. Such assessment and intervention could be useful for both victim and bully(ies), although not in the same group.

Schools and other services should also promote Anti-bullying week held during November Anti-Bullying Week 2023: Make A Noise About Bullying (

  • Text link image The protected characteristics of the Equality Act that apply to children
    Show details
    Sex / sexual orientation
    Religion / belief
    Gender reassignment
    Pregnancy /maternity

Signposting to services

More Guidance

Free Training on sexual bullying Free CPD online training (

West Yorkshire consortium procedures 1.4.4 Bullying (

DfE guidance Preventing bullying - GOV.UK (

Sharing nudes and semi nudes Sharing nudes and semi-nudes: advice for education settings working with children and young people - GOV.UK (

Download this one minute guide to Bullying Click here to Download

Want to go back to the One Minute Guide page?

Take me back
Back to top Up arrow