LEARNING THROUGH FAITH, LOVE AND RESPECT
This guidance is based on the DCSF ‘Safe to learn: Embedding Anti-Bullying work in schools’ guidance published in 2007.
- Statement of Intent
- What is bullying? (Definition, forms and types)
- Signs and Symptoms of bullying
- Preventing bullying
- Responding to bullying
- Prejudice-related incidents
- Bullying of staff by pupils, parents or other staff
- Involving parents
- Anti-Bullying complaints
- Monitoring and evaluating the policy
- Useful contacts
STATEMENT OF INTENT
We are committed to providing a caring, friendly and safe environment for all of our pupils so they can learn in a relaxed and secure atmosphere. Bullying of any kind is unacceptable at our school. If bullying does occur, all pupils should be able to tell and know that incidents will be dealt with promptly and effectively. We are a TELLING school. This means that anyone who knows that bullying is happening is expected to tell the staff.
We all follow the DCSF Bullying charter principles.
This policy links to other school policies in particular Behaviour and discipline, Health and Safety, Child Protection, e safety and PSHE
The following groups have been consulted in the compilation of this policy and ongoing consultation is encouraged.
Children – through the School Council
Parents/carers – through specific surveys and the annual online Perceptions survey carried out by ASDTi on behalf of the school
School Staff – through staff meetings and questionnaires
Governors – through termly meetings and consultation
These stakeholders are consulted when developing, implementing, monitoring and evaluating this policy.
What Is Bullying?
At St Marie’s we have adopted the following definition of bullying:
‘Behaviour by an individual or group, usually repeated over time, that intentionally hurts another individual or group either physically or emotionally’.
(taken from the definition given within the DCSFs ‘Safe to learn-Embedding Anti-Bullying work in schools’ guidance)
Forms of bullying/ Bullying behaviour
Bullying can be:
- Emotional being unfriendly, excluding, tormenting (e.g. hiding books, threatening gestures) damage to reputation, identity theft/impersonation, revealing personal information, threats
- Physical pushing, kicking, hitting, punching or any use of violence
- Damage to property e.g. graffiti, personal property
- Inciting other to bullying behaviour e.g. encouraging pupils with SEN to bully others so that they receive the consequence rather than the instigator
- Literature: e.g. distribution/possession of posters/leaflets, literature or material, e.g. pornography, wearing or display of offensive insignia
- Victimisation after previous complaint e.g. bullying due to either victims or bystanders speaking out as a result of a past bullying incident
- Racist - racial taunts, graffiti, gestures
- Sexual - unwanted physical contact or sexually abusive comments
- Homophobic because of, or focusing on the issue of sexuality
- Verbal name-calling, sarcasm, spreading rumours, teasing, swearing
- Cyber All areas of internet, such as e-mail & internet chat room misuse (e.g. Facebook, Bebo) video hosting sites (You Tube) Instant messaging (MSN, Yahoo, AOL)
Mobile threats by text messaging, calls and photos
Misuse of associated technology, i.e. camera & video facilities
Types of bullying - Bullying can happen for a large number of reasons but the most common are
- Homophobic (any incident perceived by the alleged victim or any other person to be targeted around being lesbian, gay or bisexual. People do not have to be lesbian, gay or bisexual to suffer homophobic bullying)
- Racist (any incident perceived to be racist by the alleged victim or any other person. Incidents related to religion, culture or those involving pupils who identify as Gypsy/Roma traveller )
- Related to disability, SEN or health (behaviour perceived to be insulting to people with a range of medical, mobility, sensory, mental health or learning impairments. Incidents related to other health or Special Educational Needs come under this heading too)
- Related to home circumstances (e.g. young carers or children in care)
- Sexist (incidents perceived to be demeaning to a gender in general. If unchallenged this can eventually lead to domestic violence)
- Sexual (incidents include intrusive language, damage to sexual reputation, inappropriate touching and other behaviour perceived to involve unwanted sexual attention)
- Transphobic (incidents are those perceived to be insulting to someone's gender identity or to transgendered people)
Signs and Symptoms
A child may indicate by signs or behaviour that he or she is being bullied. Adults should be aware of these possible signs and that they should investigate if a child:
- is frightened of walking to or from school or doesn't want to go on the school / public bus
- begs to be driven to school
- changes their usual routine
- is unwilling to go to school (school phobic)
- begins to truant
- becomes withdrawn anxious, or lacking in confidence
- starts stammering
- attempts or threatens suicide or runs away
- cries themselves to sleep at night or has nightmares
- feels ill in the morning
- begins to do poorly in school work
- comes home with clothes torn or books damaged
- has possessions which are damaged or " go missing"
- asks for money or starts stealing money (to pay bully)
- has dinner or other monies continually "lost"
- has unexplained cuts or bruises
- comes home hungry (money / lunch has been stolen)
- becomes aggressive, disruptive or unreasonable
- is bullying other children or siblings
- stops eating
- is frightened to say what's wrong
- gives improbable excuses for any of the above
- is afraid to use the internet or mobile phone
- is nervous & jumpy when a cyber message is received
These signs and behaviours could indicate other problems, but bullying should be considered a possibility and should be investigated
It is the responsibility of all within the school to maintain the ethos and discipline codes, which have been agreed. Pupils need good models from adults, from which they may develop their own self-discipline. We are committed to:
- Focusing on what is going well
- Giving plenty of praise appropriately
- Making clear it is the behaviour which is unwanted – not the child
- Drawing attention to good behaviour
- Giving clear and regular reminders of what is expected
- Teaching good behaviour/ manners through our own conduct
- Setting an example ourselves, in dress, manner, courtesy and care
Similarly we expect all adults to treat one another with respect so that appropriate models of behaviour are recognised by children. If an adult feels bullied by another parent, staff or governor, this should be immediately reported to the Head Teacher.
In the case of bullying by the Headteacher, this should be reported to the Chair of Governors.
We use a range of strategies and teaching methods to eliminate bullying before it is an issue
- At whole school level - Awareness raising through Anti-Bullying , assemblies or lessons. A themed week takes place each year in November to highlight the effects of bullying (anti bullying week). Clear Anti-Bullying policy which all members of the school are aware of. Anti-Bullying message embedded throughout the curriculum. National Healthy Schools Status. Reward system for positive behaviour see the Behaviour policy for details. Bullying charter prominently displayed throughout school. Friendship Stop on the playground. Pupil consultation through the School council
- At class level through Circle Time, Peer Massage, Worry Box in each class. Buddy system for new children . PSHE/C programme of work including S.E.A.L. (social and Emotional Aspects of Learning)
Play leaders in Y5 who work with Reception children. Class rules are established at the beginning of the school year, which promote positive behaviour and agree class expectations. The roles and responsibilities of staff and pupils are made clear. These rules are regularly referred to throughout the year. Schemes of work include teaching about keeping safe when using technologies
- At individual level Supervision of all accessible areas of the school, such as cloakrooms. Internet use policy, which states that children should not access social networking sites in school or the Internet without an adult being present.
Children are not allowed to be in possession of mobile phones during the school day. Zoning of playground if appropriate.
RESPONDING TO BULLYING
- BULLYING ALLEGATIONS – bullying allegations can come in from a number of different sources including from the child, child's friend, parent/carer or staff member and all will be taken seriously and acted upon. Allegations may be reported in a variety of ways
- Direct – through face to face contact with school staff.
- Indirect – through worry box in each class, a note to the teacher or other staff.
RESPONDING TO BULLYING ALLEGATIONS -
Bullying, even in apparently individual cases, is essentially a group phenomenon and therefore our responses to bullying will usually involve the bystanders in any intervention for good practice to be achieved.
SEVEN STEPS APPROACH
Step One – interview with the victim
When the teacher finds out that bullying has happened he/she starts by talking to the victim about his feelings. He/she does not question him/her about the incidents but he/she does need to know who was involved
Step Two – convene a meeting with the people involved
The teacher arranges to meet with the group of pupils who have been involved. This will include some bystanders or colluders who joined in but did not initiate the bullying. We find that a group of six to eight young people works well.
Step three - explain the problem
The teacher tells them about the way the victim is feeling and might use a poem, piece of writing or a drawing to emphasise his distress. At no time does he/she discuss the details of the incidents or allocate blame to the group
Step four – share responsibility
The teacher does not attribute blame but states that he/she knows that the group are responsible and can do something about it.
Step five- ask the group for their ideas
Each member of the group is encouraged to suggest a way in which the victim could be helped to feel happier. The teacher gives some positive responses but she does not go to extract a promise of improved behaviour
Step six- leave it up to them
The teacher ends the meeting by passing over the responsibility to the group to solve the problem. She arranges to meet with them again to see how things are going.
Step seven- meet them again
About a week later the teacher discusses with each pupil including the victim, how things have been going. This allows the teacher to monitor the bullying and keeps the young people involved in the process.
The time scale will be shorter where bullying involves very young children
The Headteacher contacts parents and discusses pupil's behaviour. Appropriate action decided upon e.g. positive discipline programme involving child, parents and teachers working together with regular reviews
There are clear links at this stage with the school Behaviour and discipline policy
- With parental consent children may be placed at on the Code of Practice at Early Years Action Plus/ School Action Plus
- The school will work in partnership with outside agencies e.g. Behaviour Support Team and the Educational Psychology Service, the Police, school nurse
- The school Child Support Worker and/or the local Standish and Aspull Children's Centre and Parent Support Adviser may be able to offer further support
Where a pupil is at risk of exclusion a Pastoral Support Plan will be put in place.
Fixed Term exclusion
St Marie's takes bullying behaviour very seriously and will adopt a supportive, pragmatic problem solving approach to enable bullies to behave in a more acceptable way. School does not believe that the use of punishment is helpful in managing this problem but where necessary sanctions will be applied consistently and fairly and in a proportionate way –
- Immediate action to stop an incident of bullying in progress
- Engagement with the bully to reinforce that their behaviour is a breach of school rules and is unacceptable
- Loss of school privileges – e.g. use of the activity trail,
- Loss of playtime privileges – playtime and dinnertime
- Y6 – withdrawals of pale blue sweatshirt, withdrawal of specific responsibilities e.g. House Captain
- Daily/Headteacher's report
- Removal from class/group
- Withholding participation in sports or out of school activity (if not an essential part of the curriculum)
- Fixed term exclusion
- Permanent exclusion
Recording and Reporting Incidents –
Bullying allegations and the schools actions are recorded using Sentinel
Parents/carers are informed verbally or in writing by the Headteacher
School staff are informed verbally
Governors are informed through the Headteacher's termly report.
The Local Authority is reported to through Sentinel
Monitoring and Support –
Bullying situations will be monitored by the Anti Bullying coordinator. She will liaise with the class teacher, other appropriate staff and outside agencies if involved every week for 4 weeks in the first instance and longer if required.
A follow up conversation will occur with the child after 4-6 weeks to check on progress.
Children, parent/carers and school staff will be supported by the Headteacher or outside agencies after incidents.
Sample Bullying procedure flowchart
The school actively promotes equality and cohesion and therefore we operate a zero tolerance approach to all forms of bullying and prejudice-related incidents e.g. graffiti, sexist language.
These incidents may not constitute bullying because they are not repeated, not intentional or not directed at an individual. These incidents often involve the same behaviour as described in the 'Bullying behaviour' section. An incident may be a prejudice-related incident or a bullying incident, or both.
Prejudice related incidents e.g. a pupil using racist language that wasn't directed at someone will be reported to the Headteacher and recorded in the school incident file. The class teacher will usually use a variety of strategies to address the issue. including Circle time PSHE/C Reminder of the rules, RE lessons.
The Headteacher and class teacher will monitor and record if any further incidents occur.
Prejudice-related, bullying and abuse against staff are all recorded on Sentinel
Bullying of staff by pupils, parent/carers or other staff
If an adult feels bullied by another; parent, staff or governor, this should be immediately reported to the Head Teacher.
In the case of bullying by the Headteacher, this should be reported to the Chair of Governors.
Members of the school workforce suffering from or concerned about bullying can also contact their trade union or professional association for support and advice.
Parents, who are concerned that their child might be being bullied, or who suspect that their child may be the perpetrator of bullying, should contact the school's named person Mrs. E Somers immediately.
Parents have a responsibility to support the school's anti-bullying policy and to actively encourage their child to be a positive member of the school.
Parents do not have the right to request that a bully be excluded from the school
Parents and carers will be consulted at regular intervals regarding the school's anti-bullying policy through workshops and questionnaires.
Parents and Carers are welcome to discuss any bullying concerns with the Headteacher. The Parent Support Adviser and Link Worker at the Children's Centre and the school Child Support Worker are also available or advice.
We strive to be a school where parents and carers are more than satisfied with what we do to support every child, especially in difficult situations. Sometimes situations arise where parents and carers feel that the right strategies are not in place to deal with a bullying situation. Good communication should resolve this problem. Our aim is that by careful listening, constructive discussion and sensible actions we can work together to solve problems.
If the problem persists parents and carers may wish to complain.
Who to contact
Often the child's class teacher will be able to deal with the matter and answer any questions.
More serious problems may require the intervention of a senior member of staff or the head teacher. Most problems can be solved in this way.
A complaint about the conduct of the Headteacher should go to the Chair of Governors,
If the matter is still unresolved the matter should be put in writing to the Headteacher in the first instance
After exploring all other avenues a formal complaint may be made to the governing body by sending a letter to the chair of governors at the school address.
The governing body responds within ten days to any request from a parent to investigate incidents of bullying. In all cases, the governing body notifies the Head teacher and asks them to conduct an investigation into the case and to report back to the chair of governors
A copy of the School Complaints Policy is available from the school office.
Monitoring and evaluating the policy
The school will gather data on the effectiveness of the policy through surveys with parents, staff and children. Incidents will be monitored and details given to the governing body. Parents and carers views will be gathered after any serious allegations.
A copy of this policy is available on the website and VLN. The policy is given in full to all new parents of children starting St Marie's School. A paper copy is available to all who request it.
Reminders are issued at the beginning of each school year.
The governing body reviews the policy every two years. The governors may however review the policy earlier than this if the government introduces new regulations or if the governing body received recommendations on how the policy might be improved.
The governing body will seek to ensure that no child is treated unfairly because of faith, race or ethnic background, gender or disability.
A list of useful contact numbers, websites etc for bullying issues, which may include:
Childline – 0800 1111 – A free, confidential helpline for children and young people offering advice
and support, by phone and online, 24 hours a day.
EACH - 0808 1000 143 - a free phone helpline for children experiencing homophobic bullying. Open Monday to Friday 10am-5pm
Parentline Plus – 0808 8002222 – a free 24hr phone helpline for anyone caring for children or textphone 0800 783 6783 for the deaf or hard of hearing
Anti-Bullying alliance – www.Anti-Bullyingalliance.org.uk –information, resources and advice relating to bullying
Beatbullying – www.beatbullying.org – resources and lesson plans looking at the issue of bullying for primary and secondary aged pupils
Cybermentors – www.cybermentors.org.uk - a safe social networking site providing information and support for young people affected by bullying
Kidscape – www.kidscape.org.uk - Bullying advice, helpline, information, Anti-Bullying resources and training
Need2Know – www.need2know.co.uk – youth friendly site featuring tips on how to stop bullying, what to do if you bully others etc
NSPCC – www.nspcc.org.uk - advice on what to do if you are being bullied or see someone who is
Think U Know – www.thinkuknow.co.uk - Website for cyberbullying and e-safety information. Has separate areas for parent/carers, staff and children aged 5-7, 8-10 and 11-1