Advice for professionals

Bullying on school journeys

  • Bullying is a safeguarding issue. It is everyone’s responsibility to keep children safe wherever they are. This includes the journey to and from school which can be a high risk time in a child’s day.
  • Schools should reference bullying and harassment on the school journey in their anti-bullying policy, safeguarding policy and behaviour policy. There should be a clear code of conduct for behaviour on school journeys that is shared with students and parents; reporting mechanisms for students, parents and the local community, and a clear explanation of how you will respond to reports including any disciplinary sanctions. Schools have powers to discipline for behaviour beyond the school gate (Ed and Inspections Act 2006).
  • Bullying on school journeys is a form of peer on peer abuse and children may be at particular risk of sexual assault and harassment. Keeping Children Safe in Education references the need to look at all aspects of the school sphere where a child may be at risk. It is vital to include school journeys in this.
  • If a child has been physically or sexually assaulted on the school journey then follow safeguarding procedures. Contact the police and/ or children’s services.
  • Look out for signs that a child may be experiencing bullying and harassment on the school journey. This includes absenteeism, frequently arriving late, hanging around after school without a clear explanation, and any changes to their usual behaviour. Disabled children and those with special educational needs may be at particular risk and should be supported and encouraged to share any concerns.
  • If a child, parent or member of the community reports bullying on school journeys take it seriously. Keep in mind that it may not be an isolated incident; good reporting mechanisms will help you spot patterns of behaviour, and it is good practice to take time each year to ask all pupils what their experiences of school journeys are and how you can work together to make them safer.
  • You don’t have to deal with this alone. Work with local transport providers, the police and the local authority to make sure all children can travel safely to school. BUSK UK Ltd can provide excellent training for Drivers on keeping children safe on the school run.

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