We believe that bullying of any kind is totally unacceptable and will not be tolerated in our school. We take all incidents of bullying seriously. No one deserves to be a victim of bullying. We believe that where bullying is challenged effectively pupils will feel safe and happy and we will demonstrate a school that cares. Everybody has the right to be treated with respect and pupils who are bullying others need to learn different ways of behaving.
At Little Stoke Primary School, we acknowledge that bullying can and does happen from time to time and that bullying can happen to adults in the workplace. When bullying does occur, everyone should feel able to tell and know that incidents will be dealt with promptly and effectively in accordance with our school anti-bullying policy.
All children have the right to be protected from physical, emotional and mental violence; a right enshrined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Children also have the right to learn, live, travel and play in a safe environment where they can thrive and achieve their full potential.
Our bullying policy should be read in conjunction with our school’s behaviour policy.
What is bullying?
We define bullying as follows:
Bullying is when an individual or group deliberately hurts another or makes them feel unhappy. Bullying behaviour will be repeated over a period of time and is difficult for the victim to defend against. Bullying may also be racist, sexist, or homophobic. People can be bullied for any reason; because of the way they look, because of their religion, their age, because of a learning or physical disability for example.
Bullying is a blight on the lives of our children which inhibits full participation in education and learning, cultural, social and leisure activities. Whatever the reason, bullying is never acceptable and will not be tolerated in our school.
Bullying can take many forms, but three main types are:
- Physical – hitting, kicking, spitting, demanding money or belongings.
- Verbal – name calling, insults making racist, sexist, homophobic or offensive remarks.
- Indirect – excluding or ‘blanking’, spreading gossip, damaging property, offensive or abusive emails, text messages or posts on websites – known as ‘cyber bullying’. We believe that bullying someone by email or text messages is still hurtful and will be dealt with in the same manner.
Bullying is not:
It is important to understand that bullying is not the odd occasion of falling out with friends, name calling, arguments or when the occasional trick or joke is played on someone. It is bullying if it is done several times on purpose.
Children sometimes fall out and say things because they are upset. When occasional problems of this kind arise, although unkind, it is not classed as bullying. It is an important part of children’s development to learn how to deal with friendship breakdowns or a childish prank. We all have to learn how to deal with these situations and develop skills to repair relationships.
The aim of the school anti-bullying policy is to try to prevent and deal with any behaviour deemed as bullying. We are committed to ensuring that the school community works together to create a happy, safe, caring and stimulating environment. We create an ethos where bullying is regarded as unacceptable so that a safe and secure environment is created for everyone to learn and work in. All members of the school community have the responsibility to recognise bullying when it occurs and take appropriate action in accordance with the school policy.
In our school we want:
- All children to feel safe to learn, play and enjoy the company of others.
- All children and adults to be treated fairly, with respect and dignity.
- All adults to feel happy and safe in the workplace.
- Everyone to listen carefully to what children and adults have to say and treat all accounts with due seriousness.
The school will set about doing this the following ways:
- The school will meet the legal requirements for all schools to have an anti-bullying policy in place.
- The school will work closely with other professional agencies to ensure that children stay safe as stated in the Children’s Act 1989, the SEN and Disability Act 2001, the Government Green Paper ‘Every Child Matters’ 2003 (outcome 2) and The Children Act 2004.
- All governors, teaching and non teaching staff, pupils and parents/guardians will have an understanding of what bullying is.
- All governors, teaching and non teaching staff, pupils and parents/guardians will know what the school policy is on bullying.
- Pupils and parents/guardians will be assured that they will be supported when bullying is reported.
- Whole school initiatives (staff training, celebration assemblies etc) and proactive teaching strategies (PSHE lessons etc) will be used throughout the school to reduce opportunities for bullying to occur.
- A positive, caring ethos will be created within the school environment where everyone can work and express themselves free from fear of being bullied.
A child may indicate, by different signs or behaviour, that he or she is being bullied. Adults should be aware of these signs and investigate further if a child:
- Is frightened of walking to or from school.
- Begins truanting.
- Becomes withdrawn, anxious or lacking in confidence.
- Feels ill in the morning.
- Begins to under perform in school work.
- Has possessions go ‘missing’.
- Asks for money or starts stealing money (to pay the bully).
- Is frightened to say what’s wrong.
NB this is not a definitive list but suggests some of the signs and symptoms. These signs and behaviours could indicate other problems, but bullying should be considered a possibility and should be taken seriously and investigated as soon as possible.
What can you do if you are being bullied?
We want everybody to feel confident to report bullying whenever and wherever it happens, and get the help they need to feel safe again. If someone is bullying you, it important to remember that is not your fault and there are people that can help you. Tell someone you trust, giving them as many facts as you can (Who? Where? What? Why? When? How?). All pupils know that if they are experiencing bullying they should tell their teacher in the first instance. Should a pupil not feel confident in doing this our learning mentor is available to speak to pupils or they may choose to use the school council representatives.
What can you do if you see someone else being bullied? (The role the bystander)
Ignoring bullying is cowardly and unfair on the victim. Staying silent means that the bully has won and gives them more power. There are ways you can help without putting yourself in danger, for example tell a member of staff as soon as possible or ask someone you trust about what to do.
Strategies in school for the prevention and reduction of bullying
Whole school initiatives and proactive teaching strategies will be used throughout the school to develop a positive learning environment with the aim of reducing opportunities for bullying to occur. These include:
- Each class agreeing on their own set of class rules.
- Making national anti-bullying week a high profile event each year.
- Raising awareness through assemblies, work in PSHE/SEAL lessons and circle time discussions.
- Setting up circle of friends support network to support individuals experiencing difficulties.
- Using drama and role-play activities to help children be more assertive and teach them strategies to help them deal with bullying situations.
- Introducing playground improvements and initiatives, e.g. school sports leaders.
- Using praise and rewards to reinforce good behaviour.
- Involving parents and the wider community.
- Multi agency work – working with social services, police etc.
Procedures for reporting and dealing with bullying incidents
At Little Stoke Primary School all staff will respond calmly and consistently to all allegations and incidents of bullying. They will be taken seriously and dealt with impartially and promptly. All those involved will have the opportunity to be heard. Staff will protect and support all those involved whilst allegations and incidents are investigated and resolved.
The following step by step procedures will be followed in all cases:
- Initially, staff will listen and speak to all children involved about the incident separately.
- Appropriate action will be taken quickly to end the bullying behaviour.
- Appropriate advice will be given to help the victim.
- Staff will reinforce to the bully/ies that their behaviour is unacceptable and they will be given a warning. The bully/ies will be asked to genuinely apologise for what they have done.
- Work will be done with the bully/ies (for example with the learning mentor or in circle times) to help him/her/them understand and change his/her/their behaviour including investigating the underlying reasons as to why they are bullying.
- In serious cases e.g. when threatening behaviour is involved, parents will be informed and invited into the school to discuss the problem. This meeting will be with the class teacher and/or Head teacher and Deputy head teacher present. (Anti-bullying: A guide for mothers, fathers and carers of pupils in Islington school sis available for parents).
- After the incident has been investigated and dealt with, each case will be monitored to ensure repeated bullying does not take place.
- Should the bullying continue the Head teacher may make to decision to exclude the child. The parents then have the right to appeal to the Governing Body and the Local Authority.
- Appropriate records will be kept of all incidents.