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What is a bully?

To explore what bullying is and how to identify unacceptable behaviour.

by Manon Ceridwen Parry

Suitable for Key Stage 2


To explore what bullying is and how to identify unacceptable behaviour.

Preparation and materials

  • None required.


  1. Explain that you are going to be talking about a difficult subject that affects most people at some time, either as children or as adults.

    It is also a serious subject, as it can make people very unhappy and affect them for the rest of their lives.

    The subject is bullying.
  2. What is bullying? The first difficulty with bullying is that it is hard to spot, as it isn’t just one thing but many different things which can build up and make someone feel ashamed, ignored and hurt.
  3. To help us think about this serious subject, we are going to have a quiz.

    I’m going to ask you some questions. Each time I ask a question, think for a moment about your answer - is the answer yes, no or sometimes? (Children could put up their hand if they think the answer is ‘yes’, or use a thumbs up/down/level to show their answer.)

    (a)  If someone spreads stories about someone else, this can be bullying. (Yes)

    (b)  Bullying can happen in the virtual world, that is, on the internet, as well as in the real world. (Yes)

    (c)  Bullying involves hitting or pushing. (Sometimes, but not always)

    (d)  If someone ignores another person and encourages others to do the same, this is bullying. (Yes, because it is picking on that person)

    (e)  Bullying involves stealing someone’s things or messing around with them. (Sometimes)

    (f)  Only children bully. (No - adults also can bully each other, and adults can bully children)

    (g)  People who complain about being bullied can’t take a joke. (No, not true)

    (h)  Bullies are strong, confident and popular. (No, even if they seem confident, very often bullies are scared people who try to feel better about themselves by making other people unhappy.)

    (i)  Some people deserve to be bullied. (No. No one deserves to be bullied.)
  4. One of the problems with bullying is that it is difficult to pinpoint.
    -  Hitting or shoving someone is clearly bullying behaviour.
    -  Calling someone names once isn’t nice but it isn’t bullying.
    -  Bullying normally happens over a period of time, and makes the person who is being bullied feel got at or upset and sometimes worried and scared.
    -  Bullying is picking on someone using all sorts of different ways: behind someone’s back, face to face, on line, hurting them physically or hurting their feelings.
  5. Sometimes bullies and their friends try to get away with their bullying by making excuses. The answer is always a clear ‘No!’

    No one deserves to be bullied.  

    We need to say no to bullying and yes to treating people with respect.

Time for reflection

Remember a time when you felt happy with the people around you -

maybe at your birthday party,
or a family holiday,
or a good day in school when the whole class did something together that was fun.

We all have our part to play in building up a family, community and school where people feel happy, respected and accepted.

Lord God,
we remember those times when we felt happiest and most loved.
Help us to make our family, community and school a happy place.
Help us to say no to bullying, and yes to respect.


‘Jesus, good above all other’ (Come and Praise, 23)

Publication date: January 2012   (Vol.14 No.1)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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