A content analysis of school anti-bullying policies: progress and limitations

Smith, Peter K.; Smith, Cherise; Osborn, Rob and Samara, Muthanna. 2008. A content analysis of school anti-bullying policies: progress and limitations. Educational Psychology in Practice, 24(1), pp. 1-12. ISSN 0266-7363 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Schools in England are legally required to have an anti-bullying policy, but the little research so far suggests that they may lack coverage in important areas. An analysis of 142 school anti-bullying policies, from 115 primary schools and 27 secondary schools in one county was undertaken. A 31-item scoring scheme was devised to assess policy. Overall, schools had about 40% of the items in their policies. Most included improving school climate, a definition of bullying including reference to physical, verbal and relational forms, and a statement regarding contact with parents when bullying incidents occurred. But many schools did not mention other important aspects, and there was low coverage of responsibilities beyond those of teaching staff; following up of incidents; management and use of records; and specific preventative measures such as playground work and peer support. There was infrequent mention of homophobic bullying, and of cyberbullying. There was little difference between policies from primary and secondary schools. Findings are discussed in terms of national policy, and ways to support schools in maximising the potential of their policies for reducing bullying.

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Date Deposited:

29 Mar 2011 12:23

Last Modified:

04 Jul 2017 12:54

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Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



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