All Together: Free anti-bullying programme

Written by: Nicola Murray | Published:
Image: Adobe Stock

The All Together anti-bullying programme is free for schools in England and has just been extended until March 2021. Nicola Murray from the Anti-Bullying Alliance explains

With schools closed for most children, you might think that tackling bullying is an area of work that many have put to the back of their minds. In fact, quite the opposite. Since lockdown started, we have seen an enormous surge in interest in anti-bullying work. Traffic to the Anti-Bullying Alliance (ABA) website and use of our All Together online training has increased ten-fold.

This is heartening to see. Although young people may be experiencing a reprieve from some forms of bullying while schools are closed, we need to be alert to the fact that there are still risks that are heightened during the crisis. There is evidence of increases in online bullying and sibling bullying at this time. Looking ahead, we must also anticipate that as schools gradually return to full capacity, there may be new issues around bullying to face. We know that the recent Ebola crisis had a knock-on effect on school bullying, particularly of bereaved children and children whose families were affected.

We can work to prevent this from happening. It is clear from the numbers using our online resources that schools very much have bullying in mind. And we know from our work to date that a digital approach to developing anti-bullying knowledge and practice can be highly effective.

ABA’s All Together programme, which is free to schools in England, uses a mix of online training, tools and resources to support schools to develop their whole-school approach to anti-bullying. It encourages schools to use self-assessment tools and pupil surveys to uncover areas of strength and weakness, then gives them a framework of support to make incremental changes. It has reached tens of thousands of pupils and professionals in schools or the wider children’s workforce.

An independent evaluation, published this week (Robinson et al, 2020), showed that after completing the programme:

  • Bullying reduced, whether that was the experience of being bullied or pupils bullying others. The biggest reduction in bullying was reported by pupils with SEN.
  • Wellbeing improved for pupils involved in bullying (as targets or as those who bullied others). The greatest improvement overall was for pupils who had reported being frequently targeted, then for those who frequently bullied others.
  • Pupils reported feeling more positive about school compared to before.
  • School leads and other professionals reported sustained knowledge and confidence in preventing and responding to bullying, several months after using our training courses.

The other huge takeaway from the evaluation was the extent to which wellbeing, feelings of belonging in school, and experiences of bullying improved for pupils with SEN in particular. By the end of the programme, their experiences are no different to those of their peers. This is a huge change for so many pupils.

Overall, the programme has demonstrated the success of its approach. By providing schools with tools for analysis along with training and resources to enact change, the lives of vulnerable pupils, particularly those with SEN, are improved, and their school experiences are much more like their peers.

Most of the reach of the programme has been online, and show that support at a distance can have a powerful effect. As schools told us:

  • “There was so much advice and guidance. The case studies were really helpful in generating ideas and the guidance for each element of the action plan helped to serve as a best practice checklist.”
  • “The online hub has been an excellent resource. We have used all the CPD with every member of staff.”
  • “The baseline audit helped me to compose a really detailed and relevant coordinator action plan and the development of a bullying concern pathway for the whole school has ensured that a consistent approach is understood and followed by all staff.”

We feel fortunate to have a digital approach in place that has shown such success. Much uncertainty lies ahead, and we are pleased that so many schools are using this time to think about their anti-bullying work and ensure staff are able to meet the needs of all their pupils. This is going to be important over the coming months and, thankfully, many schools are prepared.

Further information & resources

  • ABA: All Together is a whole-school anti-bullying programme offered free to schools across England. The programme has recently been extended until March 2021 and will be open for new registrations from June. Visit https://bit.ly/300gcrw
  • Robinson, Slonje & Smith: Evaluation report on bullying and wellbeing from the All Together Programme, Anti-Bullying Alliance, March 2020: https://bit.ly/2ZXLnnr


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