Anti- Bullying Policy Statement.
The aim of our anti-bullying policy is to prevent bullying of any sort and to ensure that everyone can operate in a supportive, caring and safe environment without fear of being bullied. All members of the community, including teaching and non-teaching staff, pupils and parents should have an understanding of what bullying is and be familiar with the School policy on bullying. Bullying is an anti-social behaviour which affects everyone; it is unacceptable and it will not be tolerated. Everyone in the community has a responsibility to report any incident of bullying that comes to their attention and these reports will always be taken seriously.
Definition of Bullying.
Bullying may be defined as any deliberately hurtful behaviour, usually repeated over a period of time, where it is difficult for those being bullied to defend themselves. Examples of unacceptable behaviour include,
- Physical (including sexual) assault.
- Verbal abuse, by name calling, teasing or making offensive remarks.
- Cyber-bullying, which is defined as the use of ICT by an individual or group in a way that is intended to upset others. Examples include using social websites, mobile phones, text messaging, photographs, video and e-mail.
- Indirect emotional tormenting by excluding from social groups or spreading malicious rumours.
Bullying may involve complicity that falls short of direct participation by, for instance, manipulating a third party to tease or torment someone. It may be overt and intimidatory but is often hidden and subtle. It includes actions or comments that are racist, religious or cultural, homophobic, sexist, sexual or which focus on disabilities or other physical attributes (such as hair colour or body shape).
The seriousness of bullying cannot be emphasised enough. Bullying is among the top concerns that parents have about their children’s safety and well-being at and on the way to and from school. Bullying is also a top concern of children and young people themselves. Bullying makes the lives of its victims a misery: it undermines their confidence and self-esteem; and destroys their sense of security. Bullying impacts on its victims’ attendance and attainment at school, marginalises those groups who may be particular targets for bullies and can have a life-long negative impact on some young people’s lives. At worst, bullying has been a factor in pupil suicide.
It is acknowledged that bullies may have complex reasons for their behaviour and may well need help. It should also be recognised that the consequences of being allowed to ‘get away with it’ can be detrimental to them as well as to their victim. All pupils deserve the opportunity to be helped to understand what acceptable behaviour is. There are criminal laws that apply to harassment, assault and threatening behaviour.
Anti-Bullying Procedure If you are the victim:
- If you feel able to, confront the bully by verbally making him/her aware that you think that what he/she is doing is wrong.
- Share your feelings with someone else.
- If possible talk to a member of Staff, your Tutor or the Counsellor about the incident.
- If you would rather not go straight to a member of staff, talk to your friends; talk to Senior pupils in your House, a mentor or one of the Prefects; the School Counsellor or any trusted adult. They may well be able to advise on an appropriate course of action, or will be able to involve other people who can. There are also people outside the School who would be willing to help.
Procedure if a pupil should witness bullying behaviour;
- Support the victim by offering your friendship and make it clear that in your opinion what is happening to them is wrong.
- Encourage them to speak out on their own behalf by confronting the bully, or with their permission, confront the bully yourself.
- Accompany the victim to a trusted adult, or suggest that you see their Form Tutor on their behalf.
What will happen?
The victim will be interviewed by their Form Tutor and an SLT member, on their own, and asked to write an immediate account of events. The process for dealing with bullying will be explained clearly to them. The victim is also given the opportunity to discuss his own reactions and behaviour towards the bully. The victim is given support and advice and counselling is suggested if deemed appropriate.
Once the Form Tutor or the SLT member are clear that a bullying offence has been committed, the bully and any others involved will be interviewed individually and asked to write an immediate account of events. The process for dealing with bullying will be explained clearly to them.
Details of the incident will be recorded on all the pupils’ files. The Assistant Head for pastoral & discipline issues is copied in so that it can be recorded as a bullying incident. The pastoral team will decide on an appropriate course of action. In the first instance the year tutor will interview the pupil or pupils whose behaviour has caused distress and give him/them a formal bullying warning; making it clear that any further incident (or discussion about the current incident) would be considered to be further bullying. It will be made clear why the behaviour was inappropriate and unacceptable. Support and counselling will be offered. A suitable punishment will also be given.
If the SLT member decides it is appropriate, or it is a pupil’s second offence, the relevant SLT member will become involved and the parents of the perpetrator/s will be informed by letter or telephone. The following sanctions may be applied in accordance with the School discipline policy.
- Formal School Warning from the Head Teacher. The Head of Secondary will speak to the pupils involved and will contact the parents or guardians giving details of the offence and inviting them in to School to discuss the matter and to be present when their child is given a Formal School Warning. Their support for the School’s actions should be enlisted if possible.
- Suspension at the Principal’s discretion (see the School’s Discipline Policy).
- Expulsion at the Principal’s discretion (see the School’s Discipline Policy).
These are minimum sanctions. In very serious cases it may be necessary to make a report to the Police or Social Services. However, it is the policy of the School to attempt to resolve such issues internally using our own disciplinary sanctions, unless the matter is of such gravity that a criminal prosecution is likely.
The School will raise awareness of the staff through training and take action to reduce the risk of bullying at the times and places where it is most likely to occur. The key points from this policy will be prominently displayed on School notice boards and will be discussed with pupils during Tutor led PSHE sessions. Anti-bullying will feature as a discussion point for Student committees and feedback will be taken to School Council. It will also be revisited as necessary during PSE sessions to all years and reinforced in other areas of the curriculum as the opportunities present themselves e.g. drama, physical education. Opportunities will also be sought to allow parents to contribute to the School’s actions to prevent bullying.
Incidents of reported bullying will be followed up by tutors, to monitor that the problem has been resolved. The record of bullying offences will be reviewed by the relevant Assistant Head regularly at form tutor meetings to watch for patterns and check that the policy is effective.