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‘Yeah, I smell’: school sorry for ‘outdated’ bullying advice

PUBLISHED: 09:48 12 December 2019 | UPDATED: 13:57 12 December 2019

Little Plumstead Primary School. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Little Plumstead Primary School. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

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A primary school has apologised to parents for “outdated” bullying advice posted on its website.

Anti-bullying advice which was published on Little Plumstead Primary School's website. Picture: SubmittedAnti-bullying advice which was published on Little Plumstead Primary School's website. Picture: Submitted

Little Plumstead Primary School's advisory document included run-of-the-mill guidance to tackle bullying, such as "tell a friend what is happening" or "say 'no' then walk away".

But there were also some unorthodox suggestions for retorts pupils could use against their abusers.

They included agreeing with the bully "in a 'so what' manner", with examples such as "yeah, I smell, and "you're right, I am an idiot", or humorous responses, such as "I'm not stylish enough to be gay" or "I know I'm ugly, thank God for plastic surgery, right?".

The document also tells children to "try to think up funny or clever replies in advance" and practise them at home with their family and "hide your emotions" during attacks.

Anti-bullying advice which was published on Little Plumstead Primary School's website. Picture: SubmittedAnti-bullying advice which was published on Little Plumstead Primary School's website. Picture: Submitted

In the case of physical bullying, the document says most bullies "are bigger and stronger than you" and advises children not to try and fight back, and to "give them [bullies] what they want" if they demand a child hand over their possessions.

But the school said the information was out of date and it has since been removed.

Catherine Wright, headteacher at Little Plumstead Primary School, said: "We regret that this outdated information was displayed on our website.

"We take any instances of bullying extremely seriously and always encourage pupils to speak to their parents and teachers so that we can take appropriate action."

Anti-bullying advice which was published on Little Plumstead Primary School's website. Picture: SubmittedAnti-bullying advice which was published on Little Plumstead Primary School's website. Picture: Submitted

Parent James White sought out advice after his son, six, was subject to more than a month of verbal and physical bullying at the school, but said it caused concerns for him and his wife. They have since arranged for their son to start at a new school in January.

Mr White said: "Telling children that a bully is always stronger than you and that you should hand over your property, that is not advice we should be giving any children and it might even lead them to be bullied more."

Analysing the document, Paddy Venner, a Norfolk-based life coach who delivers anti-bullying programmes in schools, said: "These are on-the-spot responses children can be taught when alone and feeling threatened, but they are very subjective and most victims do not feel empowered at that moment to say anything at all."

In Little Plumstead Primary's most recent Ofsted inspection in May 2018, inspectors said pupils knew "what bullying is and what it is not" and said it was extremely rare at the school.

Little Plumstead Primary School sign. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYLittle Plumstead Primary School sign. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY


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