Advice for parents

Bullied by the teacher

The majority of teachers do an excellent job in nurturing their students and follow best practice guidelines regarding reinforcement of good behaviour and discipline. However, there might be occasions when your child complains of unfair treatment, and you feel that the teaching methods used should be questioned.

What to look out for

It's completely normal for your child to complain about their teachers, doing homework and being told off. But when do normal school complaints become something more serious? Whether your child is the 'model student' or finds it hard to behave, it is a teacher's duty to treat students fairly and appropriately.

In relation to professional conduct, the Department for Education advises that all teachers must:

'Treat pupils with dignity, build relationships rooted in mutual respect, and at all times observe proper boundaries appropriate to a teacher's professional position.'

Talk to your child about specific incidents and consider whether they may have misunderstood a situation, or if the teacher is just trying to push them to reach their full potential. If the complaint is based on the latter, or because of missed homework deadlines, are there any circumstances at home that the teacher is unaware of? It might be resolved through simply scheduling a meeting to discuss these with them.

However, if you feel that the teacher's behaviour fits into any of the following descriptions, it is likely you will need to investigate it further.

  • Public humiliation;
  • Physical punishment;
  • Ostracism or the use of excessive isolation;
  • Unnecessary and unconstructive put-downs;
  • Intimidation or unsuitable fear mongering;
  • Unjustly marking down grades as punishment;
  • Regularly making an example of a student in front of the class;
  • Excessively strict punishment that is not appropriate for the behaviour and/or age of the child, or sanctions that haven't taken into account any special educational needs and disabilities. 

Investigating further

If are concerned about the teaching methods being used on your child, talk to other parents. Find out whether their children have complained about similar incidents, or noticed anything different in the way the teacher communicates with your child. 

If you feel there are grounds for your child's complaint, schedule a meeting with the head of year. Follow our guidelines on reporting to the school, and be aware of the standard school reporting structure if further action is necessary

Related advice

Reporting to the school
Taking further action 
Changing schools

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