What is bullying?

Bullying is deliberately hurtful behaviour, repeated over a period of time, where it is difficult for those being bullied to defend themselves.


It can happen anywhere, including school, the community, on the internet, even at home and can happen to anyone.

Bullying can take many forms, but the four main types of bullying are:

  • physical (for example, hitting, kicking, pushing, pinching, theft of personal belongings)
  • verbal (for example, name calling, taunting, mocking, racist remarks)
  • indirect (for example, spreading rumours, excluding people from groups)
  • cyber bullying (for example, bullying by mobile phone or through the internet).

We have a parent and carers guide attached to this page with more information on how to tackle bullying.

Prejudice-related bullying

Prejudice related bullying (also known as identity-based bullying or bias bullying) refers to any form of bullying related to the characteristics considered unique to a child's identity, such as their race, religion, sexual orientation or physical appearance. Please see an information sheet attached to this page.

These forms of bullying are not only targeted at an individual, but reflect negative attitudes towards a wider sub-community or group to whom that individual identifies with (or is believed to identify with).

Advice for young people

Bullying can happen to anyone. All of us, no matter how brave or how old, can feel hurt by the way people treat us.

If you are being bullied, you might think that if you tell, it will get worse, or that other people won't like you.

We have advice for young people on bullying attached to this page.

Help if your child is being bullied

If your child is being bullied at school:

  • Talk and listen to your child and assure them that they will be safe after 'telling'. Try to record everything that has happened, use a bullying diary which is attached to this page.

  • Talk to your child's teacher, explaining what has happened, who has done what, when and so on. Try to stay calm or you may be asked to leave.

  • Check regularly with your child to see if things have improved. If not, continue recording all incidents of bullying and discuss this with your child.

  • If you are still unhappy, make an appointment with the head of your child's school, talk to them about what is happening and give them what you have recorded

  • If after meeting with the head you are still not happy, you can make a formal complaint to the school's governing body. They will then have to investigate how your concern has been handled. Check your school's complaints policy or read our information sheet which is attached to this page about how to write a letter of complaint.

  • Finally if you are unhappy with the governors' response and if your child's school is maintained by us, you can contact Call Derbyshire tel: 01629 533190. Please remember we will not get involved until after you have made a complaint to the governing body.

We have a parent and carers guide with more information on how to tackle bullying attached to this page.

The complaints procedure for academy schools

If your child attends an academy the complaints officer will not be able to help. Contact the academy directly with your complaint.

The complaints process should have three stages:

  1. Informal stage (usually an informal meeting between complainant and staff).
  2. Formal stage (the complaint is submitted in writing to the school).
  3. A panel hearing. If the matter proceeds to a panel hearing, the school must allow the complainant to attend that hearing. They can be accompanied if they wish. There must be at least one independent panel member - someone who is independent of the management and running of the academy.

Further help

The organisations and services listed below can offer expert advice and support on dealing with bullying.

National helplines

  • ChildLine, tel: 0800 11 11
  • Kidscape, tel: 020 7823 5430 - bullying counsellors
  • The Mix, tel: 0808 800 2222 - free confidential help for anyone looking after a child
  • Samaritans, tel: 116 123 - helpline for those in distress
  • Advisory Centre for Education, tel: 0300 0115 142 - advice line for parents on all matters concerning schools.

Related documents

The following documents are in Portable Document Format (PDF). You can download software to view PDF documents for free from the Adobe website (opens in a new window)

Information on other websites

  • Childline (opens in a new window) is a free, confidential 24 hour counselling service for children and young people in trouble or danger. They offer advice and support to children, young people and adults on a range of topics including child abuse and bullying.
  • Kidscape (opens in a new window) helps to prevent bullying and child abuse. They provide information, advice and resources on how to keep children safe from harm.
  • GOV.UK bullying at school (opens in a new window) gives information, support and advice to parents and carers on what to do if their child is being bullied.
  • Bullying UK (opens in a new window) is an award-winning charity which is dedicated to providing detailed help and advice for the victims of bullying and their parents and carers.