Bully-Watch was the brainchild of my husband and I. I have a background in childcare with over fifteen years experience as a nanny, teaching assistant, and I am also a mother of four. My husband has over a decade of experience in educational software consultancy in the U.S, Australia and the U.K.
Just over two years ago, my then ten year old son started to change from an outgoing full of fun little boy, into a child who would cry at everything and would lash out at his siblings. Although I repeatedly asked him if he had any problems he wanted to talk about, he would always say he was fine. Obviously worried, I turned to his school for answers, and found out that in fact my son was being bullied. I tried everything to make his life easier, and everyday he would come home and I would ask him how his day was and he would just shrug his shoulders and walk away. He wouldn't talk to me, he became more and more withdrawn, he spent hours in his bedroom alone, and any little thing would set him off in a rage. The school tried to help, but because I dealt with so many different teachers, some of the incidents got forgotten if teachers were in meetings that day, or off sick for a week. Things were getting worse, my son started to get in trouble at school, and was becoming increasingly violent. After almost a year things had not improved, but I was hopeful that as he was moving up to secondary school things would change for the better.
My son spent all of his summer holidays in his room, never venturing out. I still hoped that once September came around he would make some new friends at a new school and things would return to normal.
For the first two weeks of the new term he came home happier than he had been in a long time, and I finally thought we may have turned a corner. Then one afternoon he arrived home more upset than ever, with his tie so tight around his neck he could hardly breathe. My husband struggled to loosen it from around his neck. I felt utterly hopeless at this point, as the bullying had taken a turn for the worse from teasing to actual physical harm being caused. My first instinct was to phone the school. We had a meeting with a member of staff who took notes in her notepad and said she would make sure it didn't happen again.
Two days later my son again came home in tears, the same group of children had been harassing him again. I went back to the school to a different member if staff, who had no idea about the previous attack on my son, so I had to explain it all again...
This went on for six weeks. My son coming home in tears and myself and my husband visiting the school and having to explain the situation time and time again to different members of staff.
My son was attacked out of school at a local park, so badly that we decided to involve the police. The outcome being my son had a written apology from the bullies, but nothing changed at school, until one day I received a call telling me that my son had to be wheel chaired off the playing field after he had been attacked again. That day I took my son out of the school and he never went back. Luckily for my son he started a new school soon afterwards and has made a new circle of friends, and finally he is smiling again!
It was during this time I asked my husband why there was nothing in the education system to make reporting of bullying easier for teachers, parents and children? It was then that we came up with the Bully-Watch concept. An easy reporting and storing system for schools, with a whole suite of tools to make dealing with bullying easier. A system where children could report any issues in complete confidence, a system where at the touch of a button, teachers could get the whole picture. We worked with a number of schools in the U.K and overseas to find out what would make the system work at its very best, and here it is! Bully-Watch is a project very close to my heart and something we are very proud of. Quite simply, it works, and if we can prevent even one child suffering in silence somewhere then everything my family has been through to get here has been worthwhile.