Five Lesser-Known Ways to Curb School Bullying
Did you know that smarter timetabling can significantly reduce bullying and anti-social behaviour in a school setting? While there’s now greater awareness of online anti-bullying strategies, thanks to E-safety initiatives and recognised awareness days, schools are often relatively uninformed about curriculum-based anti-bullying strategies. Here Chris Cooper, Edval Education CEO and timetabling specialist of twenty years, outlines five lesser-known ways to curb bullying in your school.
1. Timetable to improve social relationships
With better class lists, you can produce timetables that ensure bullies are not in the same classes as their victim students, or other known bullies who together might ‘egg each other on’. Conversely, you might pair specific students with friends or with students who may protect or support them. Using Edval Timetabling, you can specifically address bullying by tagging two or more students you don’t want to be placed into a class together as ‘Mischievous Pairs’. When manually managing class lists, the timetable software will alert the user if the students are inadvertently placed in the same classes. An added bonus is that this feature also works in the reverse with ‘Buddy Pairs’, allowing you to ensure desirable pairs are grouped together for classes and alerts you if this isn’t the case. As well as providing insulation against bullying, this is a valuable way to offer peace of mind for vulnerable students and reduce instances of school phobia. Algorithmic balancing of pupil premium students across classes is also possible.
2. Timetable to reduce student movement between classes
Better rooming consistency and reduced student movement around the school are key areas that curb negative student behaviours and increase student comfort in their learning environment. The more students move around, the greater the opportunity for bullies to encounter and harass victims as they cross paths while unsupervised. Additionally, where a given class has many different rooms across the week instead of a consistent room, there tends to be less ownership and a consequent slight increase in vandalism and other recidivist behaviour as students feel more disrupted.
3. Timetable to reduce split classes
Students placed in classes shared between two teachers can suffer from reduced supervisory oversight. Teacher A, for instance, may not be aware of subtle social issues occurring in a previous lesson taught by Teacher B. Similarly to the issue of consistency in rooming, having consistent staff for a class allows teachers to be better aware of and address bullying. Non-shared classes, on the other hand, are less disruptive to students and can result in a more peaceful learning environment.
4. Timetable to ensure balanced class sizes
Smaller class sizes facilitate improved supervision and discourage negative behaviours, such as bullying. It’s easy to balance classes within blocks, but balancing classes across blocks is complex. Smart timetabling software, such as Edval, however, use complex algorithms to move students, even across blocks, to achieve balance.
5. Timetable to improve the quality of supervision in bullying hotspots
If, for instance, you know that bullying tends to take place outside the girls’ bathroom or a secluded playground area, you might timetable for a more senior or observant teacher to monitor this area during times bullying is most likely to occur. Where it was previously difficult to manage this level of fine tuning of ‘right teacher – best area’ in rosters, automated algorithms from providers like Edval can simplify the process. This allows schools to directly address bullying by supervising more problematic areas.
For more information and advice, please download your free copy of Curb Bullying with Smarter Timetabling