Support for education staff – because adults get bullied too

Education Support Partnership back Anti Bullying Week, highlighting the support they provide to those working in education

The Education Support Partnership (ESP) is highlighting the fact that it isn’t just students who experience bullying – teachers and others who work in schools, FE and HE can often suffer at the hands of a bully too. 

The charity is urging anyone working in education being bullied and needing help to contact them through their free 24-hour helpline on 08000 562 561, through an online chat service or via an email support service on

Harassment and bullying has accounted for 29.1% of all calls and emails to the ESP helpline this year so far and represents 10% of all individual recorded cases that the charity has assisted with this year to date. 

Research conducted by YouGov for the Education Support Partnership in July of this year also found that six percent of all teachers blamed bullying for a future decision to leave their job and a further 24% pointed towards unreasonable requests from line managers, something often seen as a precursor to bullying. 

Julian Stanley, CEO of the Education Support Partnership, explains: “Through our free 24-hour counselling helpline and other support services we speak to hundreds of those working in education every single day, providing advice designed to help them be at their best – staying working in education but dealing effectively with the challenges of their jobs. Bullying is not only a cause not only of great unhappiness, but causes stress and ill health, meaning that ultimately it has the potential to impact on teacher retention and quality too. 

“It’s possible that bullying behaviour is a response to the additional pressures all schools are now facing; the rapid pace of change and top down intervention, recruitment challenges and increasing amounts of admin and paper work. But whatever the cause, the effects on the individual and the sector are potentially catastrophic so more needs to be done to nip this problem in the bud.” 

Teacher Training Research undertaken by Education Support Partnership in September 2014 found that seven percent of all teachers felt that Initial Teacher Training did not prepare them for workplace bullying, difficult managers, staff relationships and office politics, suggesting that training is at least partly to blame for the number of those experiencing difficulties.  

The Government’s Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Services (ACAS) defines workplace bullying as offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting behaviour, an abuse or misuse of power through means that undermine, humiliate, denigrate or injure the recipient. 

ESP are also looking for people working in or retired from the education sector to be part of their first Advisory Forum.

The forum is a body designed to help advise the charity on the resources and knowledge needed to ensure the ongoing delivery of appropriate help and services to as many beneficiaries as possible.   

Nominations are welcomed from those in school, HE & FE settings and the deadline is 11th December.

There are three categories for nominations; Teachers, Lecturers and Staff. Julian Stanley explains more: “The Education Support Partnership Advisory Forum is a critical part of our new structure further to our merger from three charities into one earlier this year. As well as ensuring good governance the forum will help to ensure that the support we provide is absolutely in line with the needs of those working in education, making this body one of the most important in our organisation.

“As well as providing an invaluable resource to the charity, our advisory forum represents a great opportunity for those who feel strongly about the needs of the sector and who are seeking ways to develop their career and widen their network. I would urge anyone who is interested to get involved, because your help will help us to make a real difference.”              

The forum is not a decision making body but as the name suggests provides valuable insights and advice, meeting approximately three times a year. Further to this the nearly 60% of the charity’s Board will ultimately be elected from the new Advisory Forum, meaning that candidates running for current election will have the opportunity to run for election to the Board at a later date if eligible and interested.        

Those becoming a member of the Education Support Partnership Advisory Forum will share expertise, learning and connections with each other and with Education Support Partnership. They will influence and help inform at policy level, advising on service delivery and raising awareness of the ESP’s work.

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